The Earth Trust

Earth Trust works to give tools to tribals and villagers to farm their land in a sustainable way, to develop responsibility for Primary Health solutions with traditional answers and to give rural children inspiration, skills & passion for revitalising their communities & land. Email:
Jul 9, 2013

A 3-Day Nature Camp At The Geddai Forest

Eco-club Group Members
Eco-club Group Members

In the south of Nilgiris there is a great gorge and down it 43 tight hairpin bends wind their way. From the warm road bee eaters wing up and away. Somewhere towards the bottom is a wild farm where rat snakes seem to fly out & down the slope when you pass… a king cobra stays there and when the mating season of the bears comes round, fights between the males sound like crashing metal. The sun comes up from under your feet and deer of all kinds pass through. Below the wooded slopes is the small hamlet of Geddai housing the people working at the hydro dam that is linked in with a network of dams across the hills in a massive engineering feat.

15 senior eco club students from 13 villages were scooped up and brought to a camp site right next to the river at the bottom. There they met Ganesh and Daya from FAWES organization in Chennai, an experienced and highly professional couple who aim to keep people in touch with the wilderness and build character & self reliance with the children. 1000 ft. above the village, supporters of the eco clubs- Phil and Eunice- arrived to cheer them on. The three Earth Trust eco club trainers helped organize the programe and the Forest Department came to ensure that the small herd of elephants wandering near-by were not a problem. It was a memorable time for everyone and a follow up training for the ET team is being planned.

The Benefits Of Nature Camp Includes: 

  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Improved social skills
  • The development of language and communication skills
  • Improved physical & motor skills
  • Improved motivation, focus and concentration
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the environment.

Nature Camp Activities

 A). Rock Climbing

  • Rock climbing’s special combination of mental and physical challenges makes it a unique experience. 
  • The intrinsic rewards that come from combining concentration, agility, balance, strength and judgment are unequalled in any other sport.
  • Fitness Excise & Trekking in the forest. Learning about the shola forest, grass lands & etiquette in the forest area.
  • Climbing camps take place outdoors and cover basic technical skills of rock climbing and the fundamentals of climbing movement. 
  • Rock climbing camps are thoughtfully designed to encourage self-discovery, responsibility, fitness and fun. 

B). Experiential Learning Programme In Nature Camp

  • The objective of the Experiential Learning program is supporting participants to know nature and the learning is built on Fun and Adventure, designed with children as focus where participants learn by doing rather than just listening or watching. It fosters a valuable learning process which is effective through life.
  • Activity done outdoors in a safe environment provides mental and physical stimulation to challenge mindsets, to overcome fears, break mental barriers and are designed to involve the learner in personal thought, decision making and develop hands-on learning and steering towards self-discovery.
  • The purpose of this camp is to give students an adventurous, safe and informative experience to the great outdoors, appreciate the beauty and bio-diversity of nature and help them connect to it.
  • To support them be sensitive to the natural environment around them, teaching responsible outdoor behaviour and ethics, environmental concerns and promoting "Leave No Trace" concepts. 
  • The program promotes team spirit, leadership qualities and self confidence; helps improve attitude, life-balance and emotional well-being; helps appreciate differences and individual value, develops Compassion and helps create a bond of friendship and trust; endeavours to bring about a dramatic improvement in the manner in which they face any situation in life and come out winners.

Venue                              : Manjoor, Geddai Forest Area

Participants                    : 15 Senior Ecoclub students

ET Members                   : Ms. Vanya Orr (PD), C. Sivakumar (PC), M. Sivakumar, Suresh    Kumar & Ramesh Kumar (Eco-club Team)

Special Visitors              : Mr. Phil crook & Ms. Eunice.

Resource Persons          : Mr. Ganeshan & Daya from FAWES, Chennai, Tamilnadu.

List of Eco-club students

Nagaraj  Doddabetta School

Ramesh Adasolai School

Subash Kilkowahatty School

Kumar Kilkowahatty School

Jevanantham Kollimalai School

Haridass Bandisolai School

Sanjeev Attadi School

Pradeep Gurnsey School

Anand Sogathorai School

10 Santhosh Thambatty School

11 Danush Thenalai School

12 Surya narayanan Kilkundha School

13 Nagaraj Araihatty School

14 Kevenraj Thenalai School

15 Sivaraj Glenmorgan School

Learning Programme
Learning Programme
Rock climbing
Rock climbing
Students in a Shola Forest
Students in a Shola Forest


Apr 2, 2013


Burying Cow Horns in pit
Burying Cow Horns in pit


Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. This method of organic farming emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants and animals as a self sustaining system. Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.

Biodynamic farming - to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised.

Biodynamic methods work toward the development of the farm or garden as a balanced and sustainable unit. They include organic practices such as crop rotation, recycling through composts and liquid manures, and increasing plant and animal bio diversity. Special plant, animal and mineral preparations are used. The rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars are recognised and worked with where possible. These methods lead to a natural reduction of pests and diseases in plants and animals, and an increase in the nutritive and health giving value of food produced.


The biodynamic (BD) preparations are numbered 500-508. These are best interpreted as homeopathic treatments applied to the soil or compost, whereby small amounts have a tremendous impact on soil enhancement, fertility and vitality.

 The BD 500 preparation (horn-manure) is made from cow manure (fermented in a cow horn that is buried in the soil for six months through autumn and winter) and is used as a soil spray to stimulate root growth and humus formation. The BD 501 preparation (horn-silica) is made from powdered quartz (packed inside a cow horn and buried in the soil for six months through spring and summer) and applied as a foliage spray to stimulate and regulate growth. The next six preparations, BD 502-507, are used in making compost. 

Finally, there is BD preparation 508 which is prepared from the silica-rich horsetail plant (Equisetum arvense) and used as a foliage spray to suppress fungal diseases in plants. 

The BD preparations are listed below:

  • No. 500 Cow horn Manure
  • No. 501 Horn Silica
  • No. 502 Yarrow blossoms (Achillea millefolium)
  • No. 503 Chamomile blossoms (Chamomilla officinalis)
  • No. 504 Stinging nettle (whole plant in full bloom) (Urtica dioca)
  • No. 505 Oak bark (Quercus robur)
  • No. 506 Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale)
  • No. 507 Valerian flowers (Valeriana officinalis)

Biodynamic preparations have influence on soil structure and micro-organisms enhancing soil fertility and increasing biodiversity. And intended to help moderate and regulate biological processes as well as enhance and strengthen the life forces on the farm. The preparations are used in homeopathic quantities, meaning they produce an effect in extremely diluted amounts. As an example, just 1/16th ounce a level teaspoon of each compost preparation is added to seven to ten ton piles of compost. 

 BIODYNAMIC PREPARATION TRAINING at  our Kollimalai Resource Nursery


A. BD 500 Preparation (Cow Horn Manure)

  • Fresh dung from well fed Lactating cow packed in ringed cow horns
  • Buried in Sept/November open end down  -  Lifted in February/March
  • Bury in good fertile BD treated soil & COMPOST for best results
  • In a shady area or covered with straw


Benefits of regular Application

  • Improves soil structure & humus creation.
  • Increases Worm activity
  • Develops root formation & nodulation/Phosphobacteria
  • Int. research showed 25% less water required for BD soil


B. BD 502 - Yarrow (Achillea millefolia) Preparation


  • Take Yarrow flowers at Mid-day; Ascending moon
  • Pack them into a Stags bladder
  • Hang up from March to September
  • Bury in September



  • As one of compost preparations
  • Collects POTASH to itself in deficient soils
  • Allows access to micro nutrients locked in soil


  • High in calcium  & Folic acid
  • Root excretions help adjacent plants resist disease
  • Spray yarrow tea on fruit days on fruit trees.
  • Use for spraying rye, grass seed, flax fiber, fruit bushes


C.  BD 503 – Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Preparation


  1. Take dried flowers of chamomile at air/night time with Ascending moon
  2. Stuff flowers into fresh cow’s intestines.
  3. Tie one end of the intestine and at the other end push the flowers in using a funnel and a stick.
  4. When the intestine is full tie up that end. Don’t compress the flowers.
  5. Bury in Sept/Oct- Autumn  & leave in soil until Feb/Mar- Spring
  6. Store in glazed mud pot, covered & in cool dark  place 



  1. As one of compost preparations- promotes a good breakdown of proteins in the compost to humic plant nutrients.
  2. Good companion plant for cabbage
  3. It assimilates calcium and stabilizes nitrogen (N) within the compost & increases soil life.
  4. Stimulating plant growth.
  5. Spray chamomile tea on carrot: 1gm-10litres to increase sucrose (sweetness) & dry matter
  6. Deters cabbage white butterfly
  7. Tea prevents seedling wilt: pour 10lt. boiling water on 1 gm flowers


D.  BD 504 - STINGING NETTLE (Urtica dioica) Preparation



  • Gather nettle leaves & allow to wilt
  • Pack them into a simple mud pot or the earth
  • Bury in September & mark the spot
  • Bury for 12 months but check contents after 6 mths .
  • Store in glazed mud pot, covered & in cool place


  • Raises sugar content in tomatoes
  • Mediates IRON for plant chlorophyll, provides MAGNESIUM, SULPHUR, CALCIUM
  • One of richest sources of chlorophyll & protein
  • Excellent mineral & iron boost for compost
  • Increases Vitamin C & sugar content in Tomatoes
  • Regulates the activity of manure in the compost
  • All round tonic & growth promoter for plants
  • Excellent spray for potatoes: 10gm leaf boiled in 10 lt. water: spray on leaf day’s pm. after 2nd leaf appears.  (Phytophthera).
  •  Plant with bush fruits to increase yield
  • Insecticidal spray- mildew, black fly,, plant lice. Particularly aphids



E.  BD 505 – OAK BARK (Quercus rubra)



  • Collect oak bark & grate it.
  • Pack into the skull of any domestic animal retaining the lining membrane of the skull
  • Bury in a marshy place in the autumn/September
  • Collect in the spring/March
  • Store in glazed mud pot, covered & in cool place



  • In the compost it enables soil conditions which can prevent & combat all plant diseases
  • Use as a separate spray on land which is particularly vulnerable to fungus attack
  • Spray is good for oats, lettuce, potatoes, dahlias
  • Dampens down growth forces thus reducing  plant susceptibility to disease/fungus

F.  BD 506 – DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale)


  • Gather flowers before sunrise to prevent seeding or use dried flowers
  • Prepare for fermentation in cow’s mesentery
  • Bury in the ground in September
  • Gather in March
  • Store in glazed mud pot, covered & in cool place



  • Balances SILICA & POTASSIUM in the soil
  • Attunes plant to its environment
  • Spray improves flavour of tomatoes
  • Rich pollen food for bees
  • Tonic & strengthener for all birds & animals
Dried Nettle
Dried Nettle
Chamomile Blossoms - ready to be buried
Chamomile Blossoms - ready to be buried


Dec 26, 2012

Learning from Nature: The Shola Forest Experience

Reconnect children with Nature: Seeding the importance of conservation of the unique shola forest at the right age group in an enjoyable way.  

Organic agriculture follows the laws of nature. The below mentioned 88 Eco Club students and 10 teachers from 8 rural   Eco Club schools were exposed to 3 different Shola and grassland forests in Nilgiris. (Wet evergreen montane forest)

While the waste biomass accumulates, the children begin to discover and to learn the basic principles of organic agriculture. A field trip to an area of indigenous forest (Tropical montane evergreen forest/ shola and grassland forest) provides the springboard. Here they witness a self-sustaining integrated eco-system with natural mulch, humus formation, mixed species, diversity of wildlife and so on. As a comparison, they then visit an exotic forest of pine, eucalyptus, or wattle. The differences are apparent: only one species, no birds, sunlight burning the open forest floor, hard ground, little humus.

The eco-club members can easily grasp the parallels between shola forest and organic farming, and between exotic forest and conventional farming.

The Learning: 

  • About the natural forests soil health
  • Shola Biodiversity (Plants &animals) Soil, Multitier system, Natural mulch, Water holding capacity of the soil, diversity of the plant species and animal species in the forest ecosystem.
  • Importance of Shola & Grassland vegetation 
  • Preliminary study on enumerating the grassland species to observe the species diversification
  • In addition we expose them the impact of monoculture (Eucalyptus, Acacia, Pine etc) and invasive (Cytisus, Cestrum, Ulex, Eupatorium) 


At the end of the programme a quiz was conducted to refresh what they have learned from the shola forest experience.

  • This programme was an eye opener for the students and teachers. It gave first hand information and experience on the Shola forest
  • Students were able to realize the urgent need for the conservation of biodiversity
  • They were able to distinguish native and alien plants
  • Helped to identify active students for our follow up programme
  • Teachers understood the seriousness of conservation issues
  • Established good rapport and better understanding among students and teachers 


Sr.No       Name of the school              No of students     No of Teachers          Place 

1           P.U.M.School ,Kollimalai                11                          1        Glenmorgan  Forest

2              P.U.M.School, Thenalai                  12                          2        Glenmorgan  Forest

3              P.U.M.School, Sogathorai                9                          1        Glenmorgan  Forest

4              M.M.School, Attadi                        12                          1        Kodanadu Forest

5              M.M.School, Bandisolai                  21                          2        Kodanadu Forest

6              P.U.M.School, Kilkowatty                 9                          1        Pykara Forest

7              P.U.M.School, Adasolai                    9                          1        Pykara Forest

8              P.U.M.School, Odaikadu                   5                          1        Pykara Forest

                                        Total:     88                       10


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