30000 trees and counting: 'Encyclopedia of Forest' Tulasi Gowda elated at receiving Padma Shri

'Tree planting is great work and we must continue to do so. Even when my health does not support it, I wish to plant more trees,' an elated Tulasi Gowda told The New Indian Express.

Published: 09th November 2021 07:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2021 07:23 PM   |  A+A-

Tulsi Gowda receiving Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Monday.

Tulsi Gowda receiving Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo | ANI)

Express News Service

HUBBALLI: Clad in traditional attire of the Halakki community from Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, 72-year-old Tulasi Gowda walked barefoot towards the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, greeting PM Modi and Amit Shah along the way, and received the Padma award for social work on Monday in New Delhi. 

Back home, in Ankola taluk and in Honnalli, the native village of the 'Encyclopedia of Forest', the mood was celebratory.

"I am happy to be here and receive the award. I also interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to ban tree felling," an elated Tulasi Gowda told The New Indian Express

"Tree planting is great work and we must continue to do so. Even when my health does not support it, I wish to plant more trees," she said. 

The grand old lady has planted nearly 30,000 trees in various parts of the Uttara Kannada district. She began her working life as a daily wage worker at a forest nursery and later became a permanent employee of the Karnataka Forest Department thanks to her love and dedication towards tree planting. 

She has helped the forest department preserve important native plant species of the western ghats and has encouraged several others, farmers and locals to take up tree planting on a large scale. She used to work in a nursery even when the forest department used to close it for workers during certain periods of the year. 

"Looking at her dedication, the department decided to appoint her as an employee. She worked till her retirement and even today she continues to share her vast knowledge about the native plant species," said Shekar Gowda, grandson of Tulasi.

Tulasi Gowda has stressed that the forest department must ensure there are enough local plants that provide fruits for wildlife. The growing of exotic trees including acacia must be banned in the entire state, she has stressed.

"There is no use of such plants in our forests. We must grow more fruit trees that can reduce conflict with primates in Ghat areas," she noted.

This is the second Padma award to a person from the Halakki community. Singer and social worker Sukri Bommagowda had earlier been conferred with the prestigious award. 



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