Pompayya Malemath, a Photographer from Karnataka Works For 3 Years, Transforms Barren land into Thriving Forest with over 800 trees!
A wildlife photographer and tour operator by profession, Pompayya’s fascination with wildlife and plants began at an early age.
Fascination turned to passion when Pompayya, signed up as a volunteer at the Daroji Sloth Bear sanctuary, a step that paved the way for Pompayya to identify the conservationist in him.
It all began when Pompayya noticed the scrubby patch of land on the other side of the canal, that bordered his property, lie empty and transform into a general purpose dumping ground. He felt an urge to rejuvenate the area by planting trees and three years later today over 800 trees stands tall in his forest.
He began by planting native species like coconut, neem and papaya trees. When he planted the first fifty saplings, the nature of the land made him hope that even if two out of these survived, his efforts weren’t wasted.Fortunately, all of these seedlings survived and this boosted Pompayya’s spirits greatly.
Being an elected representative in his Panchayat, he began raising awareness about the need for conservation in his village as well. This got him in touch with the forestry department. Moved by his dedication, officials helped Pompayya by supplying him with saplings for free.
From Teak, Silver Oak and Malabar Neem, Pompayya also made sure to include fruit varieties like Mango and Guava, shady tree types like Singapore Cherry as well as native plants like wild Jasmine, Jamun and Amla in his own plot and the government’s plot.
As for water for all of these trees, Pompayya fondly attributes his friend and neighbour Manjunath, who had volunteered to supply water for the saplings from his own borewell.
One could say that Pompayya has been quite wise in all his conservational efforts. A prime example of his vision is how he managed to work out an innovative solution in a tricky situation.
Pompayya has also build a water body in which he has introduced fishes gradually. He was overwhelmed to see tortoises coming and living in his pond.
Building a mini ecosystem of its own, Pompayya shares that pond has managed to sustain itself throughout the year, even during the months when the canal runs dry.
To anyone who wishes to pursue environment conservation, there is Pompayya who stands as an example!