In December this year, SeasonWatch held its first bioblitz event called the Winter Tree Quest. The idea of this even was to rapidly collect phenology data on the common and widespread trees of India. This allows one to see what the same species of tree is doing across the large area of our country.
We plan to hold once such blitz every quarter. This snapshot of many thousands of trees over different seasons is a quick way to see how different tree species change with seasons.
We are thrilled with the participation we saw this time! 121 individuals, 50 schools and 34 colleges contributed data on 14814 trees from 23 states. The following report is a summary of the event, with top performers, top species recorded and a few of the overall phenology patterns we were able to capture via the event.
See you again for the Spring Tree Quest in March 2019!
The Top Tens
Arannya Environment Research Organisation, Goa, took college students on tree walks as part of the Winter Tree Quest
Top 10 individual contributors
Individuals from all walks of life contributed observations during the event. The top 10 individual contributors from across India are given below. It was spectacular to see individual observations exceeding 400!
No. of observations
K. S. Lyla
17 year old Unnikrishnan M.P. who contributed the most number of observations, is a Class 12 student from Govt. Higher Secondary School, Mathil (Kannur, Kerala). He used a unique strategy to upload information on all the 484 trees he observed - by making notes during the day and uploading data at night. “I had actually done that by utilizing the two days by recording the observations in notes”, he says, “I had covered many SeasonWatch trees in my school and I walked to many areas which were richly covered in trees and uploaded it at night”. He cites his teacher Mr Prabhakaran as an inspiration for recording trees for the Winter Tree Quest, a frenzy which many of his friends and family called “madness”! More power to Unnikrishnan and may he be an inspiration to all!
Pavel Ghosh is a conservation biologist with training in botany. To observe his 460 odd trees, he traversed across four districts of West Bengal and one district of Jharkhand in 24 hours! “Earlier, I was familiar with similar event” he says,“but this is undoubtedly the first one that involves trees and plants” He also had a suggestion for the SeasonWatch app - he has requested that the option of ‘orchids’ be available for selection in addition to insects and animals seen on a tree. “This will help children identify orchids as well”
Lakshmikant Rajaram Neve is a Juniour Engineer at Bhusawal Thermal Power Station (BTPS) in Maharashtra. An avid birder, he realised that bird habitats have one important feature: trees! He wanted to know more about trees, but did not know where to start. He used the Winter Tree Quest as the apt opportunity to combine his two interests. “I already prepared for the event and decided the area of my patch”, he says, “BTPS, from where I logged a number of trees with help of mobile application. This is the same patch in which my birding study is going on from last three years with fruitful information and data. Now I can study the flora of BTPS with the help of SeasonWatch”. He is glad that the event got him into the habit of observing the flora on his campus.
Lakshmikant Neve observes birds and trees on the BTPS campus
Other individuals mobilised and motivated groups of people to go out and look at trees over the weekend. Akshatra Pracy Fernandes is a botanist with Arannya Environment Research Organisation in Goa and she led groups of interested citizens in observing tree phenology. She says “AERO being organiser in Goa, we taught participants to identify trees and differentiation between similar looking trees e.g. Terminalia species”. She added that participants really enjoyed looking at the trees commonly found in their locality.
Top 10 schools/colleges
We were quite surprised at the little armies of students that went out collecting data over the weekend. The top 10 school/college contributors from across India are given below. The top count exceeded 4000!
No. of observations
St. Helens G.H.S., Lourdepuram
Madonna A.U.P.S., Kasargod
Govt V H S S Veeranakavi
Govt.U.P. School, Kongad
Shaheed Manoj Singh Chauhan
(G.I.C Gaindi khata)
C.P.N.M. G.H.S.S., Mathamangalam
St Helens School in Kerala is led by Sister Shija Jacob. Sr Shija’s enthusiasm is contagious and her energy to learn new things is inspiring. “I am a biology teacher and I love nature so much. I feel it is my duty to protect mother earth and inspire my students to do so”. When asked how her school managed to observe so many trees, she said “…we chose different localities and students along with teachers went around to observe trees in their area. I got special permission from parents of the children who are ready to upload information by installing the SeasonWatch app. prizes were arranged for students who gather more observations and upload it”. 30 members along with their friends and families managed to upload data on 4330 trees eventually. It truly takes a village to ace a bioblitz event!
School students observe trees in Uttarakhand
Sujatha M., a top observer herself, is also a teacher at Govt. Upper Primary School (with 400+ trees) in Kerala. She says that the Winter Tree Quest motivated her to think of why the trees that grew in the same place displayed differences in producing leaves, flowers and fruits. She says “Winter Tree Quest organised by NCBS helped me to inspire students to watch nature, especially in the current context when they are more and more away from nature. It also helped me involve more teachers in the activities”
Shaheed Manoj Singh Chauhan G.I.C. in Uttarakhand is unique among the top ten - the only school to make it here from north India and missing top 5 by a whisker. Taukeer Alam, who works with the Nature Science Initiative in Dehradun has been instrumental in encouraging and motivating students from this school to take up all kinds of nature activities. An avid birder belonging to the forest-dwelling Van Gujjar community, Taukeer is inspiring many young people to love and cherish nature.
Resley Roy Pariong teaches at the Pariong Presbytery High School in Meghalaya, and his enthusiasm is infectious! He participated in the Winter Tree Quest as an individual as his students were away for winter vacations. He says “what inspired me to take part in this programme is that I understand that through this programme we will be able to do a very good and systematic study on climate change that occurs around us”
Top 10 states
Most number of observations came from these 10 states. Kerala contributed a phenomenal number of observations!
No. of observations
Individuals, schools and colleges contributed data from across the country
A fallen silk cotton tree flower in Tripura. Photo: Prabir Barman
What were the top species recorded across the country? Here is a graph of the tree species which had more than 250 observations from across the country
Region-wise species summary
Different species were more popular in different regions of the country. Here is a list of top 10 species from south, central-western, north and east India
Mango (all varieties)
Mango (all varieties)
Mango (all varieties)
Tree of Heaven
Mango (all varieties)
Patterns across India
Wondering how the most observed trees are behaving in different regions of India? On the same two days, most of peninsular India was dry and warm during the day while the rest of India must have experienced a typically cold (or cool) winter day. Surely the trees could sense that?
The most number of observations were made on the coconut palm, a common tree in Kerala. However, since almost all of the data on coconut came from only one state, we did not look at patterns beyond the national average
Proportion of coconut palms showing new leaves, open flowers and unripe fruits.
Mango (all varieties) shows a lovely pattern across India - in the south and east, already several trees are flowering and fruiting, but central and north India only have fresh leaves and very few flowering trees.
Neem is a beloved common tree that everyone recognizes across India. Neem showed phenology patterns similar to Mango.
Teak was another popular species for observation and interestingly showed somewhat consistent phenology throughout the country, with all regions reporting new leaves, open flowers and unripe fruit.
Researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Institute of Public Health, National Centre for Biological Sciences and Nature Conservation Foundation participated in the Winter Tree Quest. Photo by: Jenis Patel
We are very thankful to all the individuals, schools and colleges who participated in the Winter Tree Quest!
Here is a list of everyone who participated:
Schools and Colleges:
A.U.P School Cherumundassery, Abhaya George, Abhin M Sunil , Abhirami C, Aiswarya Public School, Aiswaryalakshmi, Amal U S, Amritha Priya, Anagha, Anand Velip, Angeljoe, Anjana C B, Arunima J, Arya R, Ashlin.T.Xavier, Aswin Santhosh, A.U.P.S. Malamakkavu, Bagalkunte, Beegum Mahajabeen U, Bemannur G.U.P.S., Paruthippulli 678573, Bhavans Vidyalaya, Blossom English School, Kainatty, Campeones, Campeons, Christ Nagar English Hr.Sec School Kowdiar P.O Tvm, C.P.N. M. G.H.S.S. Mathamangalam, Deepak, Devakikutty.P, Diya T, Dr.N.International School, Edling Education, Eriam Vidyamithram U.P. School, Gauri Naik, Govt Higher Secondary School, Govt V H S S Veeranakavi, Govt.U.P. School Kongad, G.U.P.S. Aamwala, Habeel Sahal, Head Master, Hemambika Nagar Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Hidayathul Isalm Sangam English Medium, Holy Family A. S. B. S. Kumbla, IISER Pune, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Jes Lalnunpuia, Jincy Justin, Jnanodaya Asb School Manya, Kalpesh Gaonkar, Karthik Mahesh, Kk Kidav Memorial Up School, K.P.M. Model School, Lekshmi, M.T.S.S.K.G.U.P.School, Madonna A.U.P.S. Kasaragod, Minza Mehrin, Nanda Kishore K. D., Neha Nazar, Niranjana, Niveditha E A, Niya Sara Vineeth,
Pariong Presbytery Higher Secondary School, Pptmyhss Cherur, Vengara, Ramisha, Revathy Reji, Rinsha, Sahil Dhamsekar, Sajitha Siril, Sandra Pr, Savithri M, Shaheed Manoj Singh Chauhan (G.I.C. Gaindi Khata), Shani Haridas, S.M.L.P.S. Kaliyar, Sneha, Sneha Syam, Sonu.A..S., South Kuthuparamba U.P. School, Sreelekshmi, St. Helens Ghs Lourdepuram, Syamili M S, T.M.T.H.S. Thalavady, T.S.S.G.U.P.S., V. V. H. S. S. Thamarakkulam, Veeram Chouhan, Vijayalakshmi
Write to us!
Would you like to see any other kinds of summaries of the data you have contributed? Do have queries about the data you collected, the app or trees in general? Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or a WhatsApp message at +91 73495 67602. You can send us queries and suggestions on these contacts too!