: A total of 16,800 saplings of 15 species are available at the Forest Extension Centre nursery in suburban Nanmangalam for free public distribution.
The centre, belonging to the research wing of the State Forest Department, started raising the saplings since May. The saplings are two to three feet tall. With the northeast monsoon rain on in Chennai and its suburbs, this will be right time to plant them, according to V.Irulandi, Chief Conservator of Forests (Forestry Extension).
The endemic species are: Mandhaarai, Baadham, Poovarasu, Punnai, Mahagony, Teak, Neem, Manjal Konnai, Ayal Vaagai, Rain tree, Murukkan, Bamboo, Tabebea, Sarakkonnai and Neer Marudhu.
The department plans to distribute the saplings free of cost to educational institutions, resident welfare associations and individuals too. The educational institution and resident welfare association can take 100 or more saplings each and plant them. “Our only condition is that they should provide proper protection, watering and ensure that the saplings grow in to a tree,” he said.
Several children visit the 3.5-ha campus, which has more than 1,300 trees of 50 endemic species to learn more about the importance of trees. The centre also imparts training to farmers. Those interested in getting the free saplings may contact the Assistant Conservator of Forests K. Asokan on 94454-68679, Mr Irulandi added.