A PT teacher's love for jackfruit trees
Thrissur: "Children call me by nicknames for my love for jackfruit trees and mango trees. No matter what they call, I just want the trees to grow well," said Father Joy Peenikkaparambil. He is the vice principal and physical education teacher at Christ College in Irinjalakkuda. He is managing his official career along with environmental activities and has nurtured many jackfruit trees on the campus.
Christ Convent was completely dependent on jackfruits during the lockdown. We had jackfruit delicacies or ripe jackfruit at least once a day in the convent since February. Apart from this, the teaching and non-teaching staff of the college also took jackfruit from the college compound. There are many fruits remaining on the trees. College was locked due to COVID. Otherwise children would have finished them too, Fr Joy said.
Fr Joy initiates different projects every year to encourage planting indigenous trees. During the 2010 World Cup, he implemented 'One Goal One Tree' scheme and planted 1500 trees on the campus. In 2014 World Cup season, he put forward 'One Goal One Mango Tree' challenge. With his innovative idea, 300 indigenous jackfruit trees and 75 Vietnam jackfruit trees were planted on the campus.
"First we collect seeds from parish members and convents. Then place it on dry leaves and cover it with soil. They will be shifted to plastic covers or flowerpots after sprouting to protect from ants and rodents. NSS and NCC volunteers are my assistants in taking care of the saplings. We have to look after the plants, as if they are our children, for three years," he said.
All trees planted on the campus flourished. Fr Joy has won GV Raja Award for best sports trainer. He also received the social forestry award twice. He could also help the college win Haritha Award instituted by University of Calicut and many other honours.