How this 10-year-old is ensuring the seeds in your fruits grow into big, healthy plants

Naren Villuri tells us why he has been collecting seeds, distributing them and planting them for three years now
Naren Villuri | Pic: Kalpana Villuri
Naren Villuri | Pic: Kalpana Villuri

After you eat a fruit do you keep the seeds or throw it, asks ten-year-old Naren Villuri to this reporter. An honest answer and some mortification later, he goes on to explain what he usually tells others while asking them to preserve and collect seeds. Naren began collecting seeds some three years ago. A young boy of just 7 at the time, Naren had learnt about the importance of plants and trees and how human beings just throw away seeds after eating a fruit or vegetable. "I was always fascinated by trees and plants and wondered where they came from. When I learnt about seeds and how they are wasted, I decided to collect and plant them," says Naren. Over a period of three years, Naren has collected over 25,000 seeds and planted thousands of trees in Tamil Nadu.

Naren says that his initiative has led him to schools, colleges, offices and even residential societies from where he collects a large number of seeds. "After collecting the seeds, I give them away to farmers, nurseries and seed banks," states Naren. He adds that his friends were helping him collect seeds before but they had to stop doing so due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. But that didn't deter Naren. He went ahead and placed marked boxes for seed collection in apartment complexes and would go regularly to collect them.   

Pic: Kalpana Villuri

Prior to COVID-19, Naren would conduct seed collection and seedball-making workshops in offices and even give speeches in schools about the importance of seed collection and planting trees. "Making seedballs prevent the seeds from forming fungus," explains Naren. On March 21, Naren also became a TED-Ed speaker, where he spoke for around ten minutes about his initiative to try and encourage other students to also collect seeds and plant trees. A student of Mahindra World School, Naren studies in Class 5. "My favourite subject is Science and I enjoy the experiments," says the young green warrior. He has even visited the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Tiruchirappalli to conduct a green drive on its campus. After participating in over ten plantation drives, Naren has even managed achievements like planting 365 trees in one day.

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