Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Biodiversity Walk at Jakkur Lake

ATREE and Biome organized a Biodiversity Walk at Jakkur Lake on Saturday, March 30th. The walk started at 7am and was lead by Aswathy Joseph. Aswathy is a biology teacher and is extremely passionate about nature, education and art. During the walk she shared some fascinating information about the plants in the lake area and about the animal life they support. Her stories highlighted the mutual dependence the plants and animals share.
Aswathy sharing stories with the participants

Right where we started our walk stood species of ficus trees, commonly known as Cluster Fig Tree. She said that the ficus trees had been a keystone species as over 1200 species of birds, insects and mammals depended on the tree for their survival. An interesting story she shared was that of the female Fig Wasp that enters the fig through the tiny hole at the bottom. During this process the wasp usually tend to lose its wings. The female fig wasp pollinates the flower and lays her eggs in the fig. These wasps spend the rest of their short lived lives inside the fig. The newly hatched male wasps mate with the newly hatched female wasps and create holes in the fig through which the female wasps can fly out. The female wasps then go searching for a new fig to lay her eggs in and pollinates the new fig flower in the process.

Fun fact: What we call the fig fruit is actually the flower of the tree
While walking further we came across a Black Babul Tree, Aswathy shared another mutual dependence story of the acacia plant and the ants, aka 'bioengineers' that live on it. The plant produces nectaries and the young leaves have protein bodies that are used as food by ants. The tree also has thorns, to keep herbivores away, which are used by the ants create nests and lay eggs. The ants in turn act as bodyguards and protect the tree from other insects and prevent other plants from growing on it. This way the ants have access to food and shelter while the tree is protected from deterioration.
Black Babul Tree by the lake

Another story she mentioned was that of the symbiotic relationship shared by the Monarch Butterfly and the Milkweed plants. The butterflies enjoy the nectar from the Milkweed plants and in return pollinates the plant. The Monarch butterfly's larvae feed on the Milkweed leaves, this keeps most predators away as they dislike the taste and hence avoid eating Monarch butterfly and its larvae.

Aswathy standing next to a Milkweed plant

The walk was followed by a water quality testing demonstration, held at the Outdoor Learning Center. Saurabh from the Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FFEM) showed us how a pH test worked. He also spoke about how Nitrates and Phosphates tests are conducted. We had three volunteers who gave their phones for calibration, which allows the volunteers to accurately measure the water quality of the lake.
Water quality testing demonstration by Saurabh from FFEM

Some enthusiastic participants stayed on after the water quality testing to learn more about the different types of butterflies that existed around the lake. It was a well spent Saturday morning with over 50 participants who were engaged in learning about the biodiversity and the water quality at Jakkur Lake. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Groundwater Recharge Workshop on 30th March 2019, at Rainbow Drive Layout

The invite ...

Greetings !!

With the borewells going deeper and groundwater levels falling, it becomes critical for us to recharge groundwater. Recharge wells have proved to be good structures to put water into the ground. Rainbow Drive has been championing groundwater recharge for a long time now with 200+ recharge wells on their 34 acre property.

Having worked extensively on groundwater recharge, Biome Environmental Trust (Biome) has launched a campaign called “Million Recharge Wells for Bengaluru - Reviving our groundwater responsibility". Every citizen of Bengaluru, whether they live in individual homes, layouts, gated communities, institutions or even industries can contribute to the Million Wells movement.

If you want to know more about the campaign or want to understand recharge wells and the process of digging recharge wells by traditional well diggers or want to understand regulations around rainwater harvesting in Bengaluru, then please join us on Saturday 30th March 2019, at Rainbow Drive Layout on Sarjapura road. Rainbow Drive has very kindly agreed to host this event on their campus. The event will be mostly outdoors, will involve walking around, seeing the recharge wells and other water management practices at Rainbow Drive and engaging with the well diggers

Time: 10 am- 12 noon
Venue: Rainbow Drive Layout, Sarjapura road
Meeting point:

Please RSVP or for confirmation so that we can get the number of people attending the event.

We had a huge turnout - much larger than expected. The event went off well. The Questions got us to to start on an FAQ that we shall shortly share


Waste water and Ground water workshop on 10th March 2019 at Mantri Glades

Bellandur RWAs came together to understand and manage their waste water and groundwater better. A workshop was held on 10th March 2019 at Mantri Glades, Sarjapura Road.

Resulted in a 2500 well challenge for Bellandur !!

Details here

Impactathon: Team Salila Wins

The Impactathon 2019 ( was an event organised by AppDynamics to bridge the gap between problems and problem-solvers. The objective of the event was to bring to the fore, issues around Water Quality and Urban Livability, and incentivise tech innovators to apply their problem-solving skills to discover disruptive solutions for these problems.

Our team Salila (Sunder, Srikanth, Shubha and Yassir) won first place from amongst many participating teams. Our solution was to remove the callibration process ( a laborious and time consuming process) while using the FFEM water quality test kit ( The team is quite thrilled that the hack will actually make it into the product

Details of the solution are here