Trees come in different shapes and sizes. They are those that may be planted by our city managements or those that stubbornly firmly planted themselves in favourable nooks. They sway above us and temporarily offer us shade on a hot summer’s day. Their flowers and fruits colour our streets red and blue in spring. And, in monsoon, you give a million thanks to it when you forget your umbrella and need to take cover under the giant canopy it so beautifully provides.
However, when the trees come together to make up our forest, things turn wild and on a gargantuan scale too! Pench, a wilderness dominated by the much loved Teak, is the forest we examined this week with Pooja Choksi. Forests give us their “waste” product, Oxygen and behave as faithful carbon sinks. They lock in our water and keep our soil pure and unmoved. The forest bears medicinal plants that have cured us for centuries.
After a quick study of life dependent on forests, the students got down to some science. Through a highly entertaining role play, the students understood the process of Photosynthesis which makes our green pockets so important to our survival. After all, it is only trees that can make food out of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water!
Next, the students set off on different tasks; from understanding how to measure the ages of trees to learning the medicinal values of the trees of Pench.
The students also contrasted the heights of the California Red Wood, the tallest tree in the world, and the locally available Teak. Measurement on a virtual Red Wood and Teak trees with only a 5 metre string made sure our students worked for the answers!
(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)