Summer is undoubtedly the most vibrant, eventful of the Indian seasons. Most trees are flowering, fruiting, and sprouting colorful new leaves too. It is most pleasing to observe the different trees around us during this time, which was the purpose of the April Tree Festival. We are thrilled by the response of the citizen scientists all over India, which made the event a rewarding, successful event.
The observations during the festival were contributed by 85 individuals (2553 observations) and 64 schools (1978 observations), making a total of 4531 observations. As usual, the greatest number of observations were made from the state of Kerala. A surprising number of observations were made by the Season Watchers in Maharashtra, Puducherry, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu, putting the states in the top 5. A total of 21 Indian states contributed observations during the April Tree Festival.
Figure 1: Locations of contributions during the April Tree Festival 2022, number of observations from each state
Among all SeasonWatch tree species, Mango has always topped the tree species observed all over India. But thanks to the ‘golden summer’ challenge of the festival, the Indian Laburnum turned out to be the most observed tree species. Mango, of course, was following closely. Other most loved (and observed) species include Jackfruit, Neem, Teak, Guava, Raintree, etc.
Figure 2: Top 10 most observed SeasonWatch trees during the April Tree Festival 2022
During the 10 days of the festival, SeasonWatchers enjoyed observing the summer blooms of Gulmohur, Maulsari, Pride of India, and summertime fruits of Indian Jujube, Silkworm Mulberry, Wood apple, etc. The bright new foliage of Mahua and Beheda trees garnered much attention and awe as well!
Figure 3: Summer blooms of Maulsari tree, shared by Shanid Muhammed from Karnataka, (mid) Silkworm Mulberry fruits shared by Ramesh Shenai from Maharashtra, and vibrant summer foliage of Mahua tree, shared by Kamran Husain from Madhya Pradesh
SeasonWatch conducted an Instagram Live session on the second day of the festival. The 40 minutes session discussed the process of SeasonWatching, the April Tree Festival, and its challenges. Watch the whole session here.
SeasonWatch has collaborated with a few more organizations recently. Nature Conservation Society, Nashik is one such organization, which has started observing selected trees in the Borgad Conservation Reserve near Nashik. An Instagram Live session was hosted by them with SeasonWatch to discuss their experience with SeasonWatch and address questions of their audiences. The session was in Marathi and can be watched here.
A mentionable contribution was made from the Western Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, on the Indian Horse Chestnut tree (Aesculus indica). The tree is in bloom, and pictures were shared by Aditi Sharma and Inayat Kakar on Instagram.
Figure 4: Indian Horse Chestnut blooms in Himachal Pradesh, shared by Aditi Sharma and Inayat Kakar
A group of students also participated in a tree walk conducted in Madurai, organised by the ‘Thirunagar Pakkam Urvanam’ group. They have written about their experience here, and also made a video about the event.
Figure 5: Participants of the treewalk conducted by the Thirunagar Pakkam Urvanam group (Photo by Vishwanath P. R.)
A treewalk was conducted in Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, or the famous Rani Bagh. The 15 participants enjoyed walking among the old, exotic trees of the botanical garden while engaging with trees to get to know them better, and understanding various tree phenomena such as exotic and invasive trees, tree seasonality, and of course, SeasonWatch.
Figure 6: Treewalk at the Rani Bagh, Mumbai (Photo by Vandan Jhaveri)
For our future tree festivals, we plan to organize such treewalks in different parts of India. We hope for your participation!
As always, the festival posed three challenges for the Season Watchers. Here is an account of response to these challenges and of course, the winners!
Figure 7: An Instagram poll depicting SeasonWatchers’ favourite challenge
Summer century – observing 100 individuals in the ten days of the festival
A lot of individuals communicated their will to complete this challenge and even shared their success with us on Instagram. 8 SeasonWatchers recorded more than 100 observations during the festival, 500 being the highest number of observations recorded by an Ms K S Lyla. Among the SeasonWatching schools, 7 completed the summer century challenge. The greatest number of observations recorded by a school is 437.
A lucky-draw winner was chosen among the 8 SeasonWatchers who completed this challenge. The winner is Vipul from Maharashtra, with 125 observations. Gandhi Smarak U. P. School- Mangalam of Kerala, with 437 observations, is the winner of the summer century challenge.
Golden summer – observing as many individuals of Indian Laburnum as possible
The response to this challenge is incredible! Individuals and schools enthusiastically took up the challenge and collected a total of 592 observations on the tree species all over India. Among these, individuals contributed 232 observations and schools recorded 360 observations.
Figure 8: Summer blooming on the Indian Laburnum tree, shared by Seema Kulkarni, and Sayee Girdhari from Maharashtra, and ‘Trees of Cochin’ from Kerala
83% of all the observed trees had open flowers during the 10 days of the festival. Curious to know how this data looks? Here is a map depicting observations collected during the April Tree Festival –
Figure 9: Depiction of the flowering Indian Laburnums in India during the April Tree Festival
The challenge was meant to gain as many observations on the Indian Laburnum trees across India as possible. Dr. P U Priyanka (36 observations) from Kerala and Veeravanchery L. P. School (150 observations) are the winners of this challenge.
Rare finds – observing the lesser-observed SeasonWatch trees
To get attention to the generally lesser-observed SeasonWatch species, 10 tree species were selected for this challenge, including the pink pearl tree (Cordia dichotoma), Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo), Gamhar (Gmelina arborea), Noni (Morinda citrifolia), Silkworm Mulberry (Morus alba), Jungle Jalebi (Pithecellobium dulce), Vilait Keekar (Prosopis juliflora), Beheda (Terminalia bellirica), Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana) and Indian Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba).
Figure 10: Indian Rosewood laden with pods, shared by Seema Kulkarni from Maharashtra, Mexican Oleander and flowering and fruiting Ber, shared by Vinoth Arumugam from Tamil Nadu
Mexican Oleander received the most observations, followed by Silkworm Mulberry, Gamhar, Noni, Jungle Jalebi, Indian Rosewood, and others.
Figure 11: Observations on each of the 10 ‘rare finds’ species
The lowest number of observations were made on Vilaiti Keekar (Prosopis juliflora). Perhaps people are reluctant to observe this species because it is known to be highly invasive across dry habitats. However, observation of such species can help devise effective control and management methods for invasive species. SeasonWatch encourages citizen scientists to observe the two invasive species on the list – Vilaiti Keekar and Lantana – to understand their seasonality better.
Figure 12: Flowers and unripe seedpods for Vilaiti Keekar observed by Ramesh Shenai in Maharashtra
Observing as many species from the 10 lesser-observed SeasonWatch species was a challenge. The winner would be the one that has contributed observations on a greater number of species. In the individual category, Surendhar Boobalan from Puducherry wins the challenge having observed all 10 species of the rare finds. Amrita Vidyalayam is the winner in the school category for observing 8 out of 10 rare finds species.
The challenges and announcing winners are only a part of SeasonWatch’s tree festival. What makes the event successful is all the motivated individuals and school students across India. We are proud to announce all the contributors to the April Tree Festival. We congratulate and thank each one of you for your dedication and enthusiasm toward trees and SeasonWatch.
(Top 10 contributors) K.S Lyla, Surendhar Boobalan, Utsav Biswas, Vipul, Adithi, Vasireddy Arun, Priyanka Das, Ramesh Shenai, PRABHAKARAN. PV, ANET, Seema Kulkarni, Dr P U Priyanka, Sayee Girdhari, G Sandeep, Kumar Reddy, Sonu Kumar, THRYAMBAK SHA, Ajay, P.RAJANGAM, Meghana S Damle, Binoy Chutia, FES Bichhiya (SHT Mandla), Lakshmikant Neve, Suhel Quader, Jaya Rakesh, Shivaprakash A, Geetha Ramaswami, Athot Horam, Elakkiya, Rama Lakshmi Peri, Varrsha Sridharan, P S Baiju, Abhinayan MB, Harini, Vasudheve PB, Deepali, Faiza Mookerjee, H Daniel, Apurva Patil, Mayurika Leuva, Prakrutin, Sanjana Kajawe, Sarah, Srinivasab, Sunetra Bhawe, Trupti, Edurafi, Loknath Sahu, Pranav Datar, Rajkumar, Aakash Gautam, Aditya Lad, Arun Lal M, Bhavya, Debanjan Chamlagain, Dhiren Shah, Jaimin Makwana, K Murali Krishna, Kinjal Gandhi Mehta, Malaika Mathew Chawla, Suhirtha Muhil M, SUKUMAR S, Adheena H Das, Aditi, Adriel Maria Simenthy, Amruta, Ananya, BEENA THOMAS, Ganesh Chaudhari, Gowtham, Lalita Ashtekar, Mayank Ghedia, Megha Shruti, Mini, Nikkitha, Nisha, Padma Mohan, Reshmi Radhakrishnan, Riddhima Karwa, R Moovendan, RRBCEA, Smitha B, Sreeja, Sunil, VISHNUBALAJI, Vishwanath.
(Top 10 contributors) Gandhi Smarak U. P. School- Mangalam, Islahiya Public School- Kottakkal, Veeravanchery L. P. School, Bemannur GUPS – Paruthippulli, Blossom English School- Kainatty, CPNM GHSS mathamangalam, M T S S K G U. P. School, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Amrita Vidyalayam, MANKARA WEST BASIC AND U P SCHOOL, BEMHSS PALAKKAD, KPM MODEL SCHOOL, G H S S Kuttamath, O L C G H S Palluruthy, DIET- PUDUCHERRY, Govt. U. P school Nedumattom, Rajiv Gandhi institute of VETERINARY EDUCATION and Research, RIVER, Holy Ghost B H S Muttuchira, Kizhuthally East U. P. School, V V H S S THAMARAKULAM, Chavaradarsan C M I Public School-Koonammavu, GHSS Kazhakkuttom, Pallottihill Public School Agastianmuzhi Mukkam, V H S S KANICHUKULANGARA, Government Arts College (autonomous) Salem 7, G U P S NEERAD, L S N G H S S – OTTAPALAM, Mahlara Public School, Sri Jayandra Saraswathy Vidyalaya Matric higher Secondary School, ST. HELENS GHS LOURDEPURAM, T. V. J School, THIAGARAJAR COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE, BHAVANS VIDYA MANDIR-ELAMAKKARA, G. M. U. P. SCHOOL. VELUR ATHOLI, GMUPSVELUR ATHOLI, J M U P School C, Kendriya Vidyalaya, MAR AUGEN HIGH SCHOOL KODANAD, SAUPS THIRUNELLY, St. Mary’s HS Vallarpadam, Vidyodaya, AC College of Technology, GLPS KUTHUPARAMBA, GOVT HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL, Govt. U. P. School Pazhayaviduthy, G U P S Thrissur, MJD Govt. College-Taranagar- Rajasthan, Rajkiye Prathmik Vidhyalaya Manorathpur, Rev. T. J. Jones Presbyterian School, S D V G UPS NEERKKUAM, S D V gov U P school Neerkunnam, S D V G U P S NEERKUNNAM, SeasonWatch Guest, Silver Hills Higher Secondary School, Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Vidhyalaya matriculation school, ST JOHN’S H S KURUMANNU, St. Mary’s Jnanodaya English School- Maicavu.
That is all about the April Tree Festival 2022. We hope the results inspire you to join SeasonWatch and contribute observations on the beautiful trees around you. SeasonWatch will be back with the next tree festival in August. Stay tuned for more information.
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