Wake The Lake

Save Nandi Hills – love for the hills!

Save Nandi Hills – love for the hills!

The iconic Nandi Valley, about 60 Km from Bengaluru and 10 km from Chickballapura town is rich in biodiversity and heritage structures. It includes various hills from the Chikkaballapura range, including Nandi, Bramhagiri, Channagiril, Skandagiri and Avulabetta Hills.  There are several inlets and streams that feed into the ponds and kalyani on the top of the hill.

The Nandi Hill range is also the origin for Arkavati, Palaar, Chittavati, Dakshina Pinakini and Uttara Pinakini rivers, and for the water with medicinal properties that flows through them. Deforestation combined with sand and quarry mining and reduced rainfall has altered the picturesque Nandi Hills and threatens to change its landscape forever.

Save Nandi Hills Campaign

Recognizing the urgent need to protect the heritage, biodiversity and natural resources of Nandi Hills, United Way Bengaluru initiated a holistic Save Nandi Campaign. This campaign, initiated in 2016 is being implemented as a partnership between the Govt. of Karnataka, District Administration of Chikkaballapur, the Forest, Tourism and Horticulture Departments, and Nandi Panchayat.

The Save Nandi Hills Campaign has built awareness on conservation of ecology and heritage through public events such as Nandi Hillathon and Nandi Habba. The events were organised with the aim of inspiring the people of Bengaluru to participate and create a sustainable, zero-carbon footprint platform for tourism. Athletes from across the world and locally, attended the events.

The campaign, which is ongoing, will enable the following as a long-term commitment towards conserving Nandi Hills:

  • Enhance bio-diversity through volunteerism for tree plantation drives and seed ball throwing initiatives: The seeds were native and forest-based and suited for planting on Nandi Hills. Fertile red soil, manure, cow dung was used to make the seed balls engaging volunteers from various companies. 2000 saplings of native fruit and flower bearing species have been planted since the campaign began. This has also discouraged the proliferation of Eucalyptus, which is known to be harmful to soil and water. General public was also invited for the events.
  • Gundutopu and kalyani restoration: Sultanpet village which was once a battlefield is in the valley. It holds a unique social forest with tall and old trees and the space served for the community to gather. It is now in bad shape and dumped with garbage and overgrown with weeds. Work is one to revive it. There is also an ancient kalyani in the area which is being revived.
  • Restore water bodies in and Nandi Hills through low-cost, traditional methods: Nandi Hills has unique water body systems in the form of kalyanis. Being the origin for five rivers, there are nine kalyanis that support these. One such kalyani is named Paataala Ganga which receives the rain water and filters the same underground through a sand bed and feeds the next kalyani downstream named Amrut Sarovara. This was obstructed with silt and choking Paataala Ganga. The feeder canals have been cleaned and water is now flowing into the Paataala Ganga, which is now bringing the water level up in the Amrut Sarovara.
  • Restoration of Nandi LakeNandi Lake, which is in the valley of the chain of Nandi Hills, was in a decrepit shape. Uncontrolled removal of soil and dumping of waste and debris had destroyed the lake. UWBe, with the approval and endorsement of the District Administration and Zilla Panchayat took up a scientific study of the lake and devised a contour map and the lake is now getting new shape. The feeder canals blocked for several years are now cleared and will allow rainwater to flow into the lake.
  • Improve community education, health and livelihood for local communities: In order to help local communities gain health, education and livelihood and to help them to avoid migrating, UWBe has initiated several initiatives. Rooftop rainwater harvesting is probably the most important. With the objective to collect rain water for drinking and household purposes, UWBe has supported 350 families with rooftop rainwater harvesting structures. Each unit has the capacity to collect 4000 litres of water which in a given rain year will collect about 12000 ltrs. The families are now water secure. They were otherwise struggling to fetch water from common sources which were getting depleted.

In the future:

  • Watershed for farmlands: Under this project 150 farmers will be supported for farm bunding, bund plantation and organic farming.
  • Waste management: This is aimed to keeping the hill clean and tide by collecting, segregating and recycling the waste
  • Restoration of armory: There is a armoury on the hill top will is being surveyed for renovation to keep it as a heritage spot.
  • Construction of public toilet at Nandi Village: To ensure public health and hygiene, we will be constructing toilets at Nandi Village.

In partnership with:

We’re speechless! Because it’s Day of Action @ United Way

The month of June was a momentous one! Rolled into one green package were World Environment Day and United Way Day of Action. It rained saplings and seedballs as corporate volunteers, students, little pre-schoolers, home-makers, senior citizens and young adults alike, lent their hand to plant saplings and make seedballs for dispersal around lakes and open spaces in Bengaluru. 21-23 June 2018, were special days devoted to#UWDayofAction, and these saw lakes and anganwadis across Bengaluru buzzing with activity. As we said, we’re speechless! View the action here! But before that, a look at the numbers:

World Environment Day (over the month)

Day of Action (21 to 23 June 2018)

Volunteers

Saplings

Seed balls

Volunteers

Saplings

Seed balls

1250

1950

9100

2758

1100

102034

Embrace the Environment

5 June 2018: World Environment Day – 2018 – Leaving out no one!

Themed Embrace the Environment, WED at United Way Bengaluru was a day of festivities and joy. Across the city, we collaborated with a range of stakeholders to celebrate the environment and reiterate our commitment towards nurturing and preserving the earth and its resources to ensure environmental security for the coming generations. We left out no one – school-children, parents, teachers, senior citizens, youths, young professionals – everybody had a role because everybody is a stakeholder. Catch all the action in pictures:

LEAVING OUT NO ONE

THE MEDIA RECOGNIZES OUR EFFORTS

Tryst with Mahadevapura Lake, Bengaluru

Mihir the Birdman

Friends of United Way Bengaluru – Mihir the Birdman!

Mihir is an IT professional, who lives close to Mahadevapura Lake with his small family – wife, parents and a child. It is obvious that he has his heart in the right place because aside of looking into a computer screen, he is also a keen bird-watcher and actively engages in greening and conservation activities.

He explains his interest in bird-watching, “As I was living close to Mahadevapura Lake, I was witness to the rejuvenation efforts which began in early 2016. As I saw the lake desilted, cleaned up and greenery increasing around it, my family and I started visiting the lake. This is when I also noticed that there were a lot of birds visiting the lake.”

About Mahadevapura Lake

  • Nearest Landmark: Bagmane World Technology Centre, Outer Ring Road
  • Acres: 26.58
  • Easily accessible by bus, private vehicles or Metro.

He had bought a DSLR camera around the same time, and it seems the birds literally beckoned to be ‘shot’! It’s almost two years since Mihir’s tryst with the birds of Mahadevapura began and he modestly says he is not a bird expert but rather someone who has been documenting the birds at the lake and enjoying it too.

He says Mahadevapura and Doddanekundi Lake which he visits are great places for bird watching and photography. Lalbagh, Kaikondrahalli, Kalkere and Agara Lakes are on his wish list too. He has covered over 70 species of birds at Mahadevapura Lake over two years. Though most varieties were seen during the winter season of 2017, which is a migratory season, he has spotted birds when there are low levels of water in lakes as well. The reason for this is that some birds prefer shallow water e.g. the Painted Stork, which just walks in shallow water with its beak in the water, looking for food.

The Mahadevapura Lake Gallery of bird life

While equipment is important, he reiterates that best results are achieved through passion and persistence, rather than the equipment. He uses a DSLR Nikon D3200 + 70-300mm lens, and is currently using Nikon D3200 + 150-500mm lens and/or 2x converter.

He lists some tips for aspiring bird watchers:

  • Get as close as possible to the bird for good close-ups. This can mean you just have to be happy just watching them sometimes as they might fly away just as you are about to click, leaving you without a picture.
  • Keep a steady hand as movement can scare/disturb birds and an unsteady hand can result in shaky images
  • Patience is a prerequisite. Sometimes you have to sit hours just waiting for the right moment to click
  • Choose a less-populated and quiet place to observe birdlife
  • Learn to understand bird behaviour. They need to be left alone at times, especially during their breeding season and while they’re feeding and raising their kids
  • Try not to scare them.

UWBe salutes Mihir and his dedication!

Note: All photos are copyrighted to Mihir. They can be used with due credit given to Mihir K V. They may not be used for commercial purposes.

Source for all information: Mihir K V

Kowdenahalli lake – Creating Life

The fifty-five-acre Kowdenahalli lake is an oasis of serenity for the onlookers and for the walkers alike. The refreshing awe of the lake water gives a fresh start for the day ahead. People come here to enjoy walking by the lake, running and doing yoga to keep the body and soul full of spirit. Nearly 1000 people visit the lake in the morning and around 500 in the evening. The lake has an aura to wipe away all the dullness of the long day spent doing daily jobs.

Lakes in BangaloreThe lake is not only enjoyed by the elderly but also by kids and the youths alike. The beauty of life flowing in the water of the lake can be established by the writings of people on the board present on the entrance of lake. There is a new thought inscribed on the board on every new day. The day we visited, on 7th Feb 2018, the board said “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” This gesture is the establishment of the fact that the community is engaged with the lake.Lakes in Bangalore

 

The lake is hosting an ecosystem of flora and fauna. Various kinds of plants and trees can be seen around the lake. This Vibrant water-body is home to medicinal plants and fruit-bearing trees dotting its periphery. While walking through this plethora of freshness, people grasp the pure air and appreciate nature. People can also involve themselves in bird watching as different types of migratory birds flying and shoal of fish swimming can be seen in the lake. Due to abundance of fish, lake also allows people to catch fish on a contractual basis.Lakes in Bangalore

This excellence is not here to stop. The lake has plans for its citizens. In the upcoming time, there would a children’s park, open gym facility and dedicated area for yoga. Currently yoga asanas are done in Gazebo which has adequate number of benches for people to sit and just gaze at the tranquility.

The safety of the people is ensured by our home guards who are present at all the time. Cleanliness of the pathway is ensured by Eshwar and Gauramma who are the caretakers of this prodigy of nature. These people under the care of United Way Bengaluru have ensured that people keep coming to the lake and take some time out of their busy lives.Lakes in Bangalore The Residents recalled how they would be scared to visit the lake 10 years ago as the water couldn’t be differentiated from muck. Sirisha, who had been living in Ramamurthy Nagar for twenty-five years mentioned that despite having fifteen lakes in neighboring areas, people come to Kowdenahalli for their daily walk. They also feel proud to have come together to celebrate Kere Sankranti (Lake Sankranti). There were 10,000 diyas and lanterns which were lit on this auspicious occasion around the lake. The citizens feel that the lake has been satiating them religiously, spiritually and the organically.

“Let the lake help you discover yourself. Spend some time with yourself.”
 by Arushi sharma and Mithun, NMIMS, Mumbai.