Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Garganey ducks are back!

We are delighted to report the sighting of our winter visitor, the Garganey Duck. Today when we went to the lake at 3 p.m. we saw four of them at the lake. Typical of its highly territorial nature, the Eurasian Coot, one of our resident species  was busy chasing the ducks away. The quartet merely flew a short distance and made themselves comfortable once again. We hope they are joined by more of their ilk. To know more about this migratory species, see here.

The Garganey was sighted at Puttenahalli Lake for the first time in 2011, an event which was reported in the Hindu article Ducking It. The birds were here last year too.

Female Garganeys at Puttenahalli Lake, Dec 2013 

We were unable to take any photographs today, however, BTV, a city tv news channel, who had come over for a story and have filmed the Garganeys. 

You are welcome to visit the lake and take photographs of our winged visitors. 

Usha

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini-citizens at Puttenahalli

The Nature Connection event for children at Puttenahalli Lake on 16th November 2014 went off very well (see article below). The adults' event was postponed.
This article was posted on the ArtyPlantz website and has been reproduced with the permission of the writer Janani Eswar. To know more about ArtyPlantz, visit the website here
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Happy with her little treasure.
Have you ever walked through a park or past a tree or through a forest on a trek maybe, and not taken the time to really look at it?
Last Sunday, the team and I spent the evening doing our first Junior Green Connect Program at the Puttenahalli lake in collaboration with PNLIT who do a wonderful job in, as they put it, breathing life into the lake. The children were so curious, playful, energetic, and yet alert enough to absorb some of what we were trying to show them. Where, I wonder, do we lose that childlike playfulness?
IMG 9950 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
Introductions circle.
After some icebreakers, we started out on a Scavenger Hunt. Finding interesting things that we hadn’t found, paying attention to things we had seen but never really appreciated. Some decided to run through it, excited to find the next thing on the list and others wanted to take their time exploring each one slowly. The adults must have really wondered what was going on icon smile Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
I remember watching as we took off our footwear to walk through the grass something that a couple of us were nervous to do. These team mates quickly stepped in and out, always watching carefully to make sure there wasn’t anything else in the grass. That’s ok. It is the first step to a beautiful journey.
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Sticky things, muddy things, smooth things, rough things, pretty things and, some not-so-pretty things all got some attention.
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A Sharing circle brought us together again.
We discussed how to pay attention to a plant to see if it likes us taking things from it. We all put our minds together and formed a list of signs for us to use. The aim of the exercise was to see if more attention can be paid to the plants as living beings and see if we can start appreciating what they do for us and, boy did that happen! Each plant was asked before we harvested from it and, each plant was thanked afterwards. Some times we assumed that the plant wanted to give because we wanted to take so badly icon smile Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli But, the process is set now though. Some wild edibles were gathered and tasted.  Some fun things gathered to take home.
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So many precious moments happened on this trail. Wide eyes, indignation at another person when they didn’t wait for the plant to give permission and curious questions of if this is edible or not. I wish I could share them all with you, reader. But, mostly, I wish I could share with you all that happened in the next activity.
We asked the little ones to see if they could find themselves a friend in the park. A tree that they would name, find the characteristics of and make friends with.
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Here is one new friend we made.
He had a very long name which I am not going to try to tell you for fear I will get it wrong. He was also a feisty, but happy tree. Well worth making friends with. There are I am afraid no more pictures of what happened here. We were all just too busy making new acquaintances and introducing each other around.
IMG 0033 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
One last game.
By this time, we started getting hungry and thirsty. A quick game was played to show the kids how if you listen to someone else describing what they saw in nature you might get it wrong. But, if you see it yourself, you can know so much more.
In the scamper to get to nourishment afterward, the team and I missed out on saying how grateful we are to have had that shared experience with the kids. Can’t wait to make some more memories and learn together.
Grin!
Janani

Friday, November 7, 2014

Our problem with gardeners

At Puttenahhali Lake, we had three gardeners - Kumar who'd been with us for over three years, Ramu for a year and a half and Uchappa for a month and a half. 

We were periodically increasing their salaries and they were currently receiving Rs 7000/month. Perks included a cycle, flexibility in timing, annual bonus, clothes, medical help, advance for emergencies. We delegated work and, time permitting, supervised them with help from a volunteer who spent an hour or so about 3 or 4 times a week. This meant that they were pretty much on their own and worked as they wished. To get any specific work done, we had to personally supervise and ensure it is done. 

After collecting their salary on the 1st of November, all three stopped working! We knew this only when we called one of them on the 3rd to say that we'd got him a new cycle. He said unless we increased their salaries, they were not coming back. We refused to be blackmailed in this fashion and asked them to return the advance, the key and the cycles. The next day one of them came back saying he'd made a mistake. Ramu is a good worker and we took him back. Now another guy is pestering to be reinstated but we have declined since he is slacker. The other guy returned the room key but not yet the money or the cycle. 

Maintaining the lake is a labour of love for me and the others at PNLIT and I can tell you with a clear conscience that we have treated our workers with sympathy and understanding. However, we refuse to be a pushover. 

Since we pay salaries from the donations you give us, this update is for your information. 

Usha

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An event for those 15+

We had earlier announced that Artyplantz and PNLIT are organizing a programme on 16th November (early evening), for children aged 8 to 14. More details about this event can be seen here

On the morning of the same day (16th November), we have put together a different programme for adults and children above 15 years - to sensitize and help them connect with nature. This event will be held 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fee: Rs. 350/participant. Seats limited to 20. More details in the poster.

Please register with: 
Rekha George (mob. 9740151629) / Nupur Jain (mob. 9886629769)

Click image to enlarge


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A unique opportunity for 8 to 14 year olds

PNLIT is committed to promoting awareness of the environment among the residents around the Puttenahalli Lake. We are happy to tie up with Artyplantz to achieve this end. Like PNLIT, ArtyPlantz loves nature and takes real pleasure especially in plant life. 

ArtyPlantz and PNLIT are organizing a programme specially designed for children between the ages of 8 and 14 years, to help them discover the beauty of plant life. If you'd like your child to become a "citizen of the natural world," please note that the session is on Sunday, 16th Nov. from 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fee Rs. 250/child. Seats limited to 20 (twenty) to ensure personal attention to each child. For more details, see poster. 

Please register with: 
Rekha George (mob. 9740151629) / Nupur Jain (mob. 9886629769).

Click image to enlarge