TreeSisters Planting Projects

A conversation with Anand Ethirajulu: From Project GreenHands to Cauvery Calling


*Content Warning: This conversation contains content that some viewers may find upsetting.*

In 2014, when TreeSisters was just a sapling of a charity with a beautiful dream, we planted our first trees in collaboration with Isha Outreach in South India. These trees supported a project titled ‘Project Greenhands’ which was created to unite an entire state around spiralling desertification in Tamil Nadu. Through your love, care and donations, we have continued to fund trees in South India ever since.

In 2020, Isha Outreach evolved the project based on the experiences they had gained and their unique understanding of what was needed for the local landscape, Isha Outreach launched a project titled Cauvery Calling. This project is owned by the community, with local farmers planting trees alongside their crops to improve the soil, water and climate for them, the community and the entire ecosystem.

We are deeply honoured to announce our support for this reforestation project in the Cauvery River Basin, through our long-standing partnership with Isha Outreach and our new partnership with Cauvery Calling!

A project of heart and soul for a consciousness shift

The heart of this project is the unique combination of farmers volunteering their time and land to tree-based farming. The farmers then care for the trees and tend to their needs as they grow. In a truly reciprocal relationship, the trees improve the soil health, revive groundwater levels and, over time, benefit the farmer by significantly improving crop harvests.

The programme is a “bottom-up approach”, led by the farmers who volunteer to attend technical training workshops and learn from other farms' successes in combining crops and tree-based farming.

A little more about the new project

The project is located across 28 Cauvery basin districts, 9 districts in Karnataka and 19 in Tamil Nadu in South India. This is an area that has been severely impacted by reduced rainfall, resulting in degraded soil quality and a dramatic reduction in crop harvests. Because of this, many local farmers have suffered a significant economic loss and are now in debt due to failed crops.

This programme created by Cauvery Calling, a volunteer-led organisation based in India, offers an innovative solution to improving the livelihoods of local communities whilst also dramatically benefiting the Cauvery River Basin. Calvery Calling will work with local farmers to educate them about the benefits of tree planting and supply the farmers with tree saplings empowering them to volunteer within the programme. Tree Ambassadors, trained by Cauvery Calling, will also help to advise which tree species will thrive according to the soil type and planting location.

The project aims to transform the lives of 84 million people by planting 2.42 billion trees across the entire basin; approximately 11.3 million hectares. Over the next two years, TreeSisters aims to fund 103,448 trees each year to contribute to this overall goal.

Click here to learn more about the Cauvery Calling project. 

If you would like to donate to help to continue this vital work, you can do that here.

Video features TreeSisters' Terra Canova and Isha Outreach's Anand Ethirajuju
Recorded  24 July, 2021
Photos are courtesy of Cauvery Calling

Terra Canova has always been passionate about the Earth both in celebrating it's beauty as well as actively working to heal the planet and treasure it's many unique species including plants, minerals and animals.

Since 2016, Terra has lead our Network Relations department and helps the TreeSisters team to take ideas and make them into events, courses and campaigns for the network and mission. Additionally Network Relations covers the incoming email from the network that helps the TreeSisters team to stay informed with what the network needs and wants as well as to help inform the network about our programs and to give them a place to be heard and welcomed in. Terra also is the creative force behind our eTree cards and our Indigenous Wisdom the the Earth series. This series is a platform for Indigenous people to have a place to share their voice and help us to learn how to treasure the Earth as well how we can help them to preserve their way of life.

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