My name is Bodhisatva Khanderao. I am 13 years old. I am studying in class 8 at Kendriya Vidyalay Yavatmal. I live in a small village, Bhosa, near Nilona forest. It gives me immense pleasure to wander in the woods. To observe the beauty of nature gives me limitless joy.
When I was 5 years old we came to live in our new house in Bhosa. In my childhood, I saw forest fires regularly. My parents used to call the forest authorities every time regarding it. I have seen several rural people lose their lives in wild animal attacks. I watched people living in nearby villages cut trees ruthlessly. These things made me nervous. I asked my mother how we could stop it. She told me, “We cannot stop the cutting of trees, but we can plant more trees to save the forests.“
In 2013, when I was in class 1, I participated in the science exhibition held in my school. I presented the Seed Ball Project for mass plantation. My project was selected for district level. Thousands of students, teachers, parents and other people visited my table. They appreciated it a lot.
Teachers from different schools started to invite me to teach them the Seed Ball method to their students. They began to make Seed Balls. It became a popular plantation method in our region. After that, many institutes started to invite me for a demonstration. I went to schools, colleges, Gram panchayats, Self-Help Groups, Summer camps, Religious places, social gatherings, Govt. Offices, NCC and NSS camps, etc. to teach people how to make Seed Balls. I explained the importance of social forestation to everyone. I requested them to start mass plantations. Innumerable people joined my work. The Seed Ball method became the Seed Ball movement.
Once, I visited a school in a big city. We could not find soil and cow dung to make Seed Balls. Hence, I invented two new easy and free of cost methods for mass plantation.
Now, many school children are applying these methods in our area. If we use these new methods of plantation along with the traditional ones we can grow forests faster. I think that if you come with a useful purpose, people automatically follow you. I arrange a big Seed Festival at my home during the summer holidays. Many children, parents, teachers, officers, green organisations, social workers and NCC cadets join it. We make thousands of Seed Balls, Green Pouches and Magic Socks.
In June we go to nearby forest valleys ghats and disperse them in nature. We sing and shout and enjoy a lot. We take our tiffins and water packs with us. We enjoy the seed festival as a picnic. My friends eagerly wait for it. They enjoy making Seed Balls and working together.
My parents are forest lovers, especially my mother. She helps me in arranging such events enthusiastically. We ask people in our area to collect Seeds. Some organisations have established Seed Banks for our festival. People come to our house and donate dried seeds. We store them properly. We use all types of native seeds. My mother carries cow dung on her head, my father digs up the soil and we store big barrels of water. We arrange tea and sweets for all volunteers.
My parents are forest officers in our region. Our Guardian Minister, the Mayor of our city, the District Collector and countless people have helped me in my work. Once an agricultural authority in an Agricultural University suggested that If we added some grass seeds in Seed Balls and threw them on barren lands near villages, it can help grow good quality fodder for animals. Then we started to add dried grass in the Seed Balls.
I read some information about different types of Seed Balls on google. They are also thrown by helicopters in valleys and on uneven lands where humans cannot reach. I have received several awards for this work. I want to teach my new mass plantation methods to people all over the world so that we can all increase the green cover faster and effortlessly.
I feel sad when I watch the crop and animal damage caused due to climate change. Whenever the untimely rainstorm, hails or animal attacks happen, the poor farmers are affected. My hometown Yavatmal sees a lot of farmers suicide happen due to debt.
Animals attack the village people because of deforestation. They lose their habitat and food and enter nearby farms and attack them. Sometimes people kill the animals because out of anger. A few years ago Tigress Avani was shot dead because she killed about 17 people in our area.
I have recently been awarded an International Young Eco-Hero Award in Notable Category for my environmental work. We must save our earth because we do not have any other option. If we work together, we can change our planet into a beautiful world. Learn to earn oxygen for yourself by planting trees. Plant a tree and get clean air.