An uphill task

Updated: 19 November, 2020 09:19 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

Join INaturewatch Foundation in greening up the degraded Taloja hill watershed range, and learn about some new species

An overview of the Taloja hill watershed area during summer
An overview of the Taloja hill watershed area during summer

Just before the lockdown in late March, Kharghar-based INaturewatch Foundation landed a project to reforest the Taloja hill watershed adjoining Taloja lake and Owe dam. At the time, Dr V Shubhalaxmi, founder and managing trustee, recalls, the hill wore a forlorn look, with a negligent tree cover and washed up soil. In collaboration with the forest department, local citizens, volunteers and CSR funds, the organisation has now been able to paint it green in parts.

"The hill range of Navi Mumbai is lush green, which has been denuded for various reasons in patches. At the Taloja hill watershed, due to lack of tree cover, the soil had been eroded," she explains, adding, "The hill has a leeward and windward side. We're working largely on the leeward side, where vegetation exists, and filling up the gaps so that the soil doesn't wash into the catchment area below, leading to land formation around the lake."

Volunteering work on at the site during monsoon
Volunteering work on at the site during monsoon

After conducting surveys, volunteers have been gathering every week to reforest the area while taking precautions due to COVID-19. "We're doing mixed plantation. On the windward side, we've planted evergreen grasslands, light hedges, Fever Nut, etc, that don't dry up easily. We've planted 1,500 saplings in the area including Laburnum, Bel, Jamun and Pongam," she tells us.

Despite sparse greenery, the area boasts of 40 species of birds, 21 species of trees and 40 species of insects, she says, adding that they host insect, tree and biodiversity walks at the spot to spread awareness. Every Sunday, volunteers also water the plants and help de-weed areas around native plants and shrubs. Join them if you'd like to learn more about this patch of green and lend them a hand.

Dr V Shubhalaxmi
Dr V Shubhalaxmi

Time Saturday for tree walk at 8 am; Sunday for reforestation activity at 7 am
At Hyde Park, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

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First Published: 19 November, 2020 08:59 IST

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