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Chennaiite documents city’s uncommon trees

After seeing her friend Manu document the trees around him in Chandigarh, Chennaiite Seetha Gopalakrishnan was fascinated by the concept. She decided to do something similar about Chennai and started a series called Fifty Trees of Chennai.

Chennaiite documents city’s uncommon trees
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Banyan at the Pattabiram Military Siding E Depot Station; Sausage tree at Chamiers Road; Seetha

Chennai

In this series, Seetha documents not-so-common trees found in various neighbourhoods in the city along with a short description on social media. “Except for probably a handful of trees I was used to seeing (thanks to front and backyards at grandparents’ places), it had never occurred to me to pause and take note of trees around. I never thought about how many of them are common or notsocommon, richness in terms of species, observe when particular tree flowers or fruits until I joined a conservation organisation and found people discussing trees and birds every time. After initiating the documentation series, I started spotting trees, tried to identify or at least make mental notes of the more prominent features and observe the more common trees found on the roads,” says Seetha, who works with a bio-diversity conservation organisation.

 She says that Chennai is blessed with a wide variety of trees and many don’t know its value. “Now, I have become extra conscious about the environment. Whenever I am unable to identify the trees, my colleague Muthu Karthick helps me. As of now, I am focussing only on 50 trees in the city. This is a gratifying exercise and I learned a lot about trees and its benefits. Recently, Recently, when I passed through Anna Nagar, I realised that the locality has many more tree varieties than any other neighbourhood in Chennai,” she adds.

 Seetha says that the response to the series is good. “Whenever I share details of trees on Instagram or Facebook, many could identify the trees from their native or other places. I wanted more people to join this project. Sometimes, I tend to miss trees in certain localities. So, if a person from that particular area can identify the tree and share details about it, it will be useful for everyone. The data will be available for the public,” she remarks.

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