The tale of Antaryami Sahoo began when he was 11 years old in the village of Kantillo in Odisha, where he first planted a banyan sapling. While this was definitely not a part of any plantation drive that may have taken place, it did show his love for the environment, and trees in particular. For the last 64 years, this tree teacher from Odisha has planted at least a couple of trees in the very public spaces that adorn his village. As a teacher in Siletpada UP School, Sahoo also imparted his knowledge and love for trees to his students.
Meet Antaryami Sahoo, The Gachha Sir Of Odisha
As a teacher, Antaryami Sahoo managed to plant thousands of trees in multiple backyards of the schools, villages, and public spaces in the district of Boudh. He also managed to put forward his idea of environmental awareness and wildlife conservation amongst the residents of the village. Due to his incessant and never-ending work towards the environment, the people of Odisha gave him a name- Gachha sir– which means tree in Odiya. While the man maybe 75 years old now, it simply goes to show what pure passion can entail- as he still works with the same zeal and grit that he displayed when he was 11.
In an interview, Antaryami Sahoo mentioned that he had joined the school as a teacher all the way back in 1973. Since then, he has been the major force behind massive plantation drives across six different schools. And all the six schools hold a special place in his life- for he had taught at all the six at some point in time. Back when he was a teacher, Sahoo managed to source a few saplings from the forest department which he would use to create a nursery for the seedlings that were ready to be germinated.
Antaryami Sahoo further stated that he worked until 2004, for till then he had planted almost 10,000 trees individually, and almost 20,000 more with the help of his students. The tree teacher from Odisha has always favored the saplings of trees like teak, sal, banyan, Indian beal, mango, fig, and quite a few different species. Even now he plants trees every single year, with the number crossing 30,000- all of which have been documented.
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