Tree of life dedicated to The Gyalsey

Tendril: The skills at taking on hard red soil at Kuenselphodrang may be missing, but the spirit was not, as 1,500 students of Kelki, Rinchen and Changzamtog, volunteered to dig 5,000 pits to plant tree saplings on Saturday.

The students managed 900 pits (1×1 foot pits) only, but volunteered to carry the truckloads of leaf mould to prepare for the big event, planting 108,000 trees on March 6. Tendrel Initiatives is organizing the event.

About 5,000 saplings will be planted in Thimphu, around Kuenselphodrang. Participants in Thimphu will include, government ministers, clergy, security forces, senior citizens, non-government organizations, private and corporate sector to represent sections of the entire Bhutanese society.

The 108,000 trees will be planted in all the 20 dzongkhags, one by every household and in the form of plantations. The planting will begin at 10 am with His Holiness the Je Khenpo reciting the prayers following which approximately 108,000 Bhutanese will plant the trees simultaneously.

The 108,000 trees was chosen, according to Tendrel Initiatives, as the numerical, “108”, in Buddhism denotes the cleansing of 108 defilements that impede beings from attaining enlightenment. “Therefore, we have 108 beads in rosary, 108 choetens. The act of planting 108,000 trees thus equates to invoking and soliciting all the aforementioned blessings.”

The species planted will differ from dzongkhag to dzongkhag depending on the climatic and soil suitability.

“The planting of trees not only carries huge religious symbolism which is very appropriate to receive His Royal Highness the Gyalsey but it is also an investment in the future besides which it reinforces Bhutan’s image as an environment-friendly nation,” said Tenzin Lekphel, the Chief Coordinator of Tendrel Initiatives. “The fact that every household will plant one sapling is a dedication par excellence.”

The Initiative will ensure the saplings survive and grow into trees. For this they have three strategies up their sleeves.

Each volunteer will plant only one tree and the name and mobile phone number of the volunteer will be written on a plastic near the sapling. “Besides giving ownership, a two caretakers will call the planter if the sapling needs care,” said a member of the Initiative.

Water, which is most important will be ensured through tanks and pipelines, he said. Schools and other organizations can also adopt the plantations. In Thimphu, 700 students and 30 teachers of Kelki Higher Secondary had already agreed to adopt the overall plantation in Thimphu.

Tendrel Initiatives has also planned planting of another 12,000 saplings by tourists throughout 2016 at a dedicated plantation in Thimphu. This is excluding the 108,000 earmarked for March 6.

Tendrel Initiatives has arranged 1,000 cypress tree saplings for households and offices in Thimphu. Interested volunteers could pick one from the Institute of Management Studies office in Olakha.

By staff reporter