What is the idea behind Green School Movement (GSM)?
If you talk about environmental awareness programs for school children, you usually think of a one hour talk or a seminar in which you talk about the effects of global warming and the importance of trees to students. We all have been a part of such awareness talks in our school days and other than temporarily making us feel guilty, these awareness programs have not gone very deep within us.
But in Green School Movement, the idea is to develop green consciousness among school children by providing a practical experience in raising saplings. This is a joint initiative of Isha with the Tamil Nadu Education Department.
How does this work?
To implement the project in a particular district, the first step would be to approach the District Chief Educational Officer (CEO) and get the approval to organize a meeting with the heads of all schools to explain about the project. Subsequently, the interested schools would come forth to join hands with PGH to be part of the ‘Green School Movement’. About 300 – 400 schools in a district that have National Green Corps/Eco club with the aim of providing environmental education to the children will be part of this program
Under this project, seeds, covers and technical guidance for raising saplings will be provided by PGH. Two NGC students and one NGC coordinator from each school would attend a workshop conducted by PGH. During the training, participants will be taught on how to start a nursery in the school. Each school would then be provided with seeds and covers to raise 2,000 saplings. The trained students via peer to peer education and free sharing of techniques will have the mission to create awareness to all the members of NGC. Right from sowing the seed to planting the saplings, all activities are done by the school children. Since children are involved in the project for nearly 4 -6 months, the bond that they establish with the trees incredible. Children begin to relate to trees as a life form.
Once the saplings are ready for plantation, some of the saplings will be planted in the school premises, some distributed to local residents and nearby residential locations for planting in households and to other schools not a part of GSM. The ownership of planted saplings is transferred to the local community who ensure the survival of these saplings. PGH from its experience have found that assigning such responsibilities has resulted in higher survival rate of nearly 68% which is significantly higher than the typical growth rate of about 40% - 50% in community land plantation.
- 1) Providing seeds and covers to all the participating schools
- 2) Conducting training program for 2 NGC students + 1 Teacher of all the schools
- 3) Providing CDs, planting manual and booklet to guide the students
- 4) From PGH side, maximum effort is taken to follow-up the progress of the project. Starting from the training workshop in August till December/January when the saplings are ready to be planted by children a dedicated team from PGH (environmental educators) make regular weekly visits to these schools to provide guidance and for trouble shooting.
- 5) Motivating the children, inspiring them to do better, training and creating awareness is the key focus of the PGH team.
The idea is to build a generation of children who will become environmental caretakers.