Bill Bryson elucidates the significance of water through a lovely chapter, ‘The Bounding Main’, in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything. To illustrate just why Water is such an important component of our curriculum, we’d like to quote his rather rather colourful lines on water. He says, “Water is everywhere. A potato is 80 per cent water. a cow 74 per cent, a bacterium 75 per cent. a tomato, at 95 per cent is little but water. Even humans are 65 per cent water, making us more liquid than solid by a margin of almost two to one. Water is strange stuff. It is formless and transparent, and yet we long to be beside it. It has no taste and yet we love the taste of it. We will travel great distances and pay small fortunes to see it in sunshine. And even though we know it’s dangerous and drowns tens and thousands of people every year, we can’t wait to frolic in it. ”
The last week of September saw the students of Pench, Maharashtra getting up close and personal with water. They got right into its chemical composition to its behaviour.
With a quick introduction to the chemistry and physics of water, the students studied the water cycle that makes water just so unique. We had a little fun challenging some of the students to try water that had condensed from the use of dirty, inky water (Yes, like we are sure you have guessed, there were no volunteers, it was down to Pooja to drink it).
Many myths about the cycle once dismissed, the students’ attention was brought to the proportion of the fresh and salty water on the planet. Much to the students’ surprise, they learnt that only close to 1 per cent of the Earth’s fresh water sustains a population of seven billion. Moreover, the students learnt that the amount of water on the planet hasn’t changed since the beginning! Again, a fact that was hard to swallow.
Next we came down to some fun experiments to show the students the tendencies of water. Through two very entertaining experiments the students learnt how water likes to ‘stick’ due to surface tension.
To conclude, the students learnt about the concept of a water foot print. Every item we use in our daily lives has a water footprint and the knowledge of the same can significantly reduce our impact on the planet.
Needless to say, the students were highly bemused that it takes 10 litres of water to produce one sheet of paper and close to 3400 litres to produce a kilo of rice.
(If students can’t reach the E-Base, not a problem, we can reach out to them. Workshops on the Maharashtra side of the Pench Tiger Reserve began in July 2014. With a modified E-Base program, we take the workshops, projects and even a library to the doorstep of these students in Maharashtra. With an audience of close to 180 students this year, we are sure to make a lasting impact and continue growing as the years pass. The enthusiasm and curiousity displayed by the students in Maharashtra make every effort we take to travel for hours to reach the schools in Pench, Maharashtra worth it.
Keep up with our blog as we continue to travel to different ends of the forest of Pench to reach out to a wider audience to aggrandize our impact, thereby aggrandizing the effort to save the tiger and its home.)