Karwar: Septuagenarian Tulsi Gowda, an environmentalist from Honnali village in Ankola taluk is a role model for the society for her selfless contribution in looking after the nurseries.
This elderly woman has been silently contributing to save nature by planting new saplings and watering them for the last six decades.
Tulsi Gowda, an illiterate woman from Halakki tribe joined forest department as a temporary worker at a very young age. The Department of Forests recognised Tulsi Gowda's dedicated work, honest service while sowing the seeds in the nursery and offered her a permanent job. Retired after serving the department for 14 years, Tulasi’s love for the nature and its protection did not die down.
Growing up in poverty, she has planted 30,000 (some estimates suggest more than a lakh) in her life time to prevent the fertile land from turning barren. After retirement, she still manages to contribute her might by nurturing plants in her surroundings, while relying on a meagre pension for livelihood.
Tulasi Gowda possesses vast knowledge on the diverse species of plants and knows a great deal about herbs. Interested in teak plantation initially, she made efforts on her own to learn more about fig, jackfruit, Nandi and other large tree varieties. Forest department experts are awestruck by the tremendous knowledge she possesses on wide variety of plants. Her abundant knowledge on nursing plants, their life cycle and usage has bewildered many who encountered her.
Tulasi Gowda draws immense satisfaction watching the fully grown trees (sapling once planted by her) in her surroundings. At the age of 70, she silently carries forward the message of environmental protection, while living in harmony with the nature most dear to her.
Tulasi Gowda is the recipient of Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award, Rajyotsava Award in 1999, Kavita Memorial Award and Indavalu H Honnayya Samaj Seva Award among many others. Even after retirement, she has not given up on planting activities. With age not permitting her to carry on with the activities like in the past, she still manages to plant saplings in her surrounding and oversees their growth.
People from across the state come to Honnalli and Ankola to learn more about Tulasi Gowda’s love for environment. She welcomes them with open arms and shares her knowledge with the new generation, stressing on the importance of environmental protection.
Tulasi Gowda expresses outrage at the environmental destruction and appears deeply concerned about its impact on future generations. She cautions against the elements looting forest wealth and feels growing revenue earning trees like Acacia is detrimental to nature.