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Tree talk at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

This Sunday, unravel the mysteries of the plant kingdom through a wilderness walk at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

While leopards and lesser-known butterfly species may be some of the attractions of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), it’s the trees and plants — 1,300 species and counting — that form the bedrock of the biodiversity at the 103 sq km protected area in Borivali. This Sunday, unravel the mysteries of the plant kingdom through a three-hour long tree appreciation walk, titled Walking With The Trees. Shardul Bajikar, a naturalist associated with the park since 15 years, and botanist Dr Alok Chorge (recently completed his PhD on the grasses of Odisha at the Andhra University) will conduct the two-kilometre trail in a stretch that features a vast diversity of foliage.

Participants can spot the Ghost tree (Sterculia Urens) at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Famed for its shining white bark, the tree sheds all its leaves at the end of monsoons and stands bare to bring new leaves the next monsoon. Pic courtesy/Shardul Bajikar
Participants can spot the Ghost tree (Sterculia Urens) at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Famed for its shining white bark, the tree sheds all its leaves at the end of monsoons and stands bare to bring new leaves the next monsoon. PIC COURTESY/Shardul Bajikar

“With the onset of spring, there is a lot of activity among trees. For instance, the Kusum, Palash and Silk Cotton trees will begin flowering. Through the walk, we will identify the different species; especially the peculiar ones like the Crocodile Bark tree (barks resembling the wrinkled skin of the reptile) and also talk about the medicinal uses and ecological value of trees. The idea is to help participants break ice with trees,” shares Bajikar.

At the end of the trail, Bajikar will present an audio-visual talk on plant-animal interaction and tree intelligence. “Intelligence is not just a human virtue. I’ll talk about how trees practise self-defense and also manipulate the animal world to help pollination,” he adds.

Age group: 10 years and above
On: January 31, 6.30 am (reporting time at SGNP gate)
At: Nature Information Centre, SGNP, off Western Express Highway, Borivali (E).
Cost: Rs 450 (inclusive of the sessions, tea and coffee, transport with forest)
For Registrations, Call: 28868686
Email: nicsgnp78@gmail.com
Note: Participants will have to buy entry tickets for self and vehicle (if any).

Ltinerary

6.30 am: Meet at SGNP Gate, have tea
6.45 am: Departure by vehicle into the forest
7 am to 9.30 am: Tree watching
9.30 am: Return to Nature Information Centre (tea and coffee)
10 am: An audio-visual presentation by Shardul Bajikar on 'Plants: can they be intelligent?'

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