Meet Gurpreet Singh. In 2010 he realized that the plant cover in Punjab had to be drastically improved and we humans need to be kind to our planet. Without waiting for support or help from those around him, he started planting saplings. People were quick to declare him mad. It didn’t bother him.
A professional photographer, he also heads Samrala Hockey Club that has more than 80 members. Inspired by the work of environmentalist Baba Seechewal, Gurpreet kept planting and nurturing saplings in his free time. His efforts started showing when everyone noticed the transformation at the Samrala Railway Station. In the years he had planted more than 6000 trees at the station, nurtured 3 mini forests and 12 parks around the station. He has also created 5500 bird nests and planted more than a lakh trees. Samrala Railway Station has become an example for railway stations in North India.
What started as a lone man’s initiative, soon garnered an immense following. People saw his vision and made it their own. Popular Punjabi singers like Manmohan Waaris and Kamal Heer are now regular faces at these on-ground plantation drives.
What makes Gurpreet Singh stand out is his innovative approach to the plantation drive. In 2018 he started knocking on doors with free fruit plants. He spoke to householders encouraging them to plant the fruit trees in their compounds. More than 300 houses in Punjab now have mango, lychee, chickoo, and guava growing in their gardens.
RoundGlass Foundation was happy to get him on board in 2021. If you have come across the mini forest in Bhanglan, where 1300 trees are spread over 1 acre of land, it is the fruit of us working with Gurpreet.
Here’s what Gurpreet has to say about us, “Other organizations charge for doing such activities. But RGF is doing everything for free. This is a big thing. Also planting more and more trees is the need of the hour as due to deforestation Punjab’s green cover has substantially decreased.”
Gurpreet’s interest extends to sports too. He heads the Samrala Hockey Club. With 80 very active members, they play many matches and represent the state too. But since no story of Gurpreet’s comes without a surprise, here’s one too. All the members of the club are above 40 years of age.
A photographer who starts a plantation drive and heads a hockey club. It was great meeting you.
We need more people with kindness toward our planet. We need more Gurpreet’s.
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