New Delhi Nature Society: Get in sync with the earth

Organised by the New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS), this nature walk was part of their ongoing series, wherein the group organises walks to the many green zones in Delhi.

author_img Anjani Chadha Published :  28th October 2021 01:08 PM   |   Published :   |  28th October 2021 01:08 PM
Verhaen Khanna takes the attendees through the Kamla Nehru Ridge

Walk leader Verhaen Khanna takes the attendees through the Kamla Nehru Ridge

“You cannot be in a forest and in a bad mood at the same time,” said Verhaen Khanna (32) as he led a nature walk amid sky-high eucalyptus trees, bougainvillea bushes, and Malabar silk cotton trees at the Kamla Nehru Ridge in North Delhi on Wednesday. The attendees traipsed through the forest as the call of an Oriental magpie-robin and the rattles of kingfishers filled the air around them. Monkeys effortlessly glided through trees, evoking a child-like awe in the group. 

Organised by the New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS), this nature walk was part of their ongoing series, wherein the group organises walks to the many green zones in Delhi. “These walks are an attempt to get people interested in the environment,” said Khanna, who founded the organisation in 2014.

 

The onset of the two-hour-long walk was marked with the four participants assigning ‘forest names’ to themselves. “I see a giloy tree, so call me giloy,” chuckled horticulture enthusiast Vandena Bal, a Noida resident. It was Bal’s first nature walk in Delhi. As the morning progressed, the attendees strolled along the forest with Khanna, the walk leader for the day. They identified a number of forest elements, discussed their past experiences with nature, while also indulging in fun games like Make a Forest Friend.

“I have been following Verhaen’s work for a long time. Today’s walk has been very informative. I could have come here and walked alone but it would not have been the same without his insights,” shared Roli Thapar, a nature enthusiast. 

Appreciating the flora 
For Khanna, this walk was also an attempt to address tree blindness. A term devised by botanists to address the ignorance of trees in urban areas, tree blindness is a phenomenon that leads to people indulging in harmful activities against the environment. “In cities, people see cars, buildings, other human beings, but they don’t see trees in their surroundings. It is almost as if trees are in the background for them. If a tree is felled outside their houses, they won’t even notice,” explained Khanna, who also underappreciated trees until a few years ago. 

Curing tree blindness is vital to protect trees and the environment. Over the years, Khanna and his team have been helping people fight tree blindness through activities such as tree climbing, tree hugging, and tree identification. The NDNS recently launched a set of trump cards, which help people identify trees through its features. Their litigation vertical constantly corresponds with authorities to address environmental issues. 

The NDNS also organises nature walks with children. “It is important to teach children the importance of protecting the environment. If they have a good experience with nature, they will want to save it,” Khanna concluded.

UPCOMING WALKS

The NDNS will be organising more nature walks in the coming days at these places:

  •  Hauz Khas Forest
  •  Millennium Indraprastha Park 
  •  Lodhi Garden
  •  Sunder Nursery
  •  Okhla Bird Sanctuary
  •  Mehrauli Archaeological Park

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