Transforming a dry abandoned land into a paradise was a pioneering effort of a retired teacher and environment enthusiast, Sathi Devi. Converting a wasteland into a productive and useful space was never an easy task. For her relentless efforts in afforestation, Sathi Devi has been awarded Eastern Bhoomika Award, 2018, by Firoz Meeran, MD Eastern Group.
It was back in 1991 when the Management of Bhavan’s Adarsha Vidyalaya, Kochi decided to do something with the 10 acres of school land that was unfruitful. The responsibility of ‘greening’ the land was given to Sathi Devi, a Malayalam teacher at the school. Long 15 years of her determination and effort witnessed the birth of a mini forest, filled with a hundreds of trees, flowers, fruits and bio-diversity. Apart from planning a wide range of trees, her innovative idea of building nest for birds in every tree with the motto “let the birds sing” received immense appreciation. The same idea was the theme of forestry club in Bhavan’s School. A teacher, coordinator, and an environment enthusiast, she inspired a group of children to take up the trowel to green the wasteland. Today her dream of a paradise, complete with thousands of trees and echoed with birds singing is a reality.
Sathi Devi’s expedition of turning a desolate land into fertile woodland could prove a boon for our town and cities. She is emotionally attached to every single tree, stands grounded and strong as an inspiration for today’s generation. Sathi Devi is of the opinion that a good teacher goes beyond bookish knowledge and mentors her students to become examples of tomorrow. Teaching students the lessons of life through nature and thereby making it their textbook is what her idea of education. For her, education is not confined within the four walls of the classroom and successfully inculcated the thirst for the love for nature and value education in her students.
She is actively involved in taking students to various forests and developing their personality by connecting them with nature. Her strong interest in nature conservation is extended to poems and short stories describing its necessity and beauty. All of this was not easy for her and many tried to downpour her by calling her insane. Her paradise is the most fitting reply to all those critics. Sathi Devi’s method of teaching beyond the textbooks leaves behind an inspirational legacy.