Project GreenHands (PGH) was awarded the Environment Award for 2010, by the Department of Environment, Tamil Nadu State Government. PGH was recognized in the “Environmental Protection and Management Activities” category, for its outstanding contributions in creating environmental awareness and reversing ecological degradation. The award was presented by Mr. B.V Ramanaa, Minister for Forests, Tamil Nadu Government, at the GRT Grand Hotel in Chennai. Criteria such as replicability of the work, innovativeness, target groups – such as women, rural populations and urban poor – impact of the programs in relation to the resources employed, and the sustainability of the project were considered before a decision is taken on the award.

This is not the first award that PGH has received for its environmental restoration efforts. In 2010, PGH was awarded the prestigious Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar (IGPP) for 2008 by the Government of India. It also received the international Beyond Sports Award for 2010, under the “Sports for Environment” category, reflecting PGH’s use of sports in rural communities to promote community bonding and environmental awareness.

PGH is a grassroots ecological initiative established by Isha Foundation, which aims to take corrective measures to increase the green cover, restore soil health and manage natural resources appropriately. Towards this end, PGH has thus far successfully overseen the planting of more than 14 million trees by over two million volunteers. In 2006, 856,000 trees were planted in just 3 days by over 250,000 volunteers, earning the project a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. PGH is involved in an array of rural and urban greening campaigns across Tamil Nadu, and has over the years partnered with the Government, corporates, schools, colleges and NGOs in various environmental initiatives.

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