On the occasion of the 71st Republic Day of the nation, the list of the recipients of the Padma Shri Awards was announced. This year was the year of the country’s unsung heroes. One among these recipients is Tulasi Gowda. Tulasi is known as an encyclopaedia of the forest, she loves trees, plants and herbs more than anything in her life. She comes from the Honnalli village in Ankola taluk of Uttara Kannada district. This 72-year-old born in a poverty-stricken Halakki tribal family didn’t get a chance of any formal education; yet her knowledge regarding trees and plants is no less than any botanist. Tulasi has been caring for nature for over six decades and during this time she has planted and nurtured for over 40,000 trees.
Tulasi took part in an afforestation programme initiated by the forest department as a temporary volunteer; impressed by her work and dedication Tulasi was offered a permanent job as a member of the department. She retired from the service after serving for 14-years and now her only source of livelihood is the pension. She has immense knowledge of the species of each and every sapling she has ever planted, their scientific benefits, the amount of water required to grow them. Tulasi worked in the department in Ankola, Yellapur, and Sirsi taluks; the saplings she planted there have grown into huge trees now. Even in this she actively works towards raising awareness among people about the conservation of forests.