MANGALURU: Almost 90km away from the Western Ghats, a tree park in the coastal town of Tannirbavi near Mangaluru gives visitors a chance to learn more about tree species unique to the Ghats. While the park has become a model for conservation, it is also an eco-education centre with several facilities for school students, teachers and nature lovers.
Spread across 12.5 acres amid the Bengre forests overlooking the Arabian Sea, the tree park has over 110 species of trees from Western Ghats. Adding to this is a 22-acre plot of Holay Honne plantation maintained by the forest department.
“It was meant to be an eco-education park, but the tree park has gone beyond its design and conceptualisation. I have seen the wildlife around this part of the forest growing in numbers as well as species. Earlier we could only sight Brahminy kites and crows but now we see a large variety of birds, including drongos, Birds of Paradise have started nesting here. We also see jackals, pangolins, snakes and mongoose in plenty which is in fact a very encouraging factor,” said Sanjay Bijoor, Chief Conservator of Forests.
P Sridhar Range, forest officer, said, “The footfall is increasing by the day. The park gets a large number of schoolchildren and teachers. This is a perfect setting for children to learn more about the biodiversity of the Western Ghats. There are signs put up across the park to help children learn the names and other details of the trees.” The information kiosk is quite elaborate and has machines that replicate sounds of birds, animals and reptiles.
Rekha Rao, a teacher who brought her schoolchildren to the park, said, “This was the best eco-education tour that our children have had. The spacious layout, walking path, activity areas overlooking the forest and the beach, and the information kiosk are very helpful for students. The children were thrilled to see the birds and animals at the park.”
The tree park has pergolas, walking tracks, a 100-seater beachside activity centre, a food court with four kiosks and a natural water tank. Visitors can also play a game of volleyball at the court. Motifs depicting local culture have also been erected.
The park also incorporates a small area with medicinal plants from Western Ghats, and displays models of tribal life.
Deputy Conservator of Forests Hanumanthappa said the department plans to set up a watch tower and an amphitheatre in the future.