Anandvan- Forest of Joy- Volunteering for Nature

During my time in Pune, I stayed in my aunt’s house. My uncle is an active member of a very ambitious project known as Anandvan- the forest of joy- an artificially made ecosystem. It was started as an attempt to prevent builders from conquering barren lands and also to beautify a once-upon-a-time landfill. It involved training people, conducting plantation drives, forest cleaning drives, eco tours, special medicinal plants awareness camps besides competitions to promote love and care for our environment. There is much more to it now, and activities relating to making a new mini-river, demarcating specific bird hotspots etc. are also taking place there. During my 2 week stay, I became engaged in all these proceedings and had discussions with the leaders with whatever biology I could pour there to help make the place more and more active. Unfortunately during one such drive, I acquired an ankle-sprain which limited my physical roles such as cleaning and watering and digging lakes, but I still used to go for the meetings. Overall, it was very enriching to work so closely with nature and actually participate in making a whole new ecosystem.