With a clear understanding of what biodiversity is and the importance of it, it was time to explore the biodiversity in their very backyards. Each forest has its own composition of species that play different roles in the ecosystem. Thus every ecosystem is unique and this was the message we wished to share with our students. IT was now time to discover the wonders of the forest of Pench.
Beginning with a video on the Pench Tiger Reserve and a second, on tropical forests, the students were encouraged to observe the animals and plants in both the videos. The students made a note of the differences between both the forests. They then brainstormed on the possible reasons for a difference in the biodiversity of a tropical forest and their very own forest of Pench.
A modern day movement in support of the planet began in this month close to half a decade ago. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had awoken so many of the youth, and increasingly degraded air and surroundings lead to more people raising concern and springing into action. Environmental health was, for the first time, a part of tea time discussions of the common man and the agendas of the politicos. That was 1970. This is 2015.
Despite increased awareness and more inclusive action to address environmental issues, we are, unfortunately, still in the midst of a climatic crisis, one that leaves us with a precarious future. One of the biggest reasons for this climatic turmoil is deforestation. However, it is not only the risks of climatic turmoil that we face due to deforestation, it is also a loss of our food and water security. Ahead of Earth Day on the 22nd of April, this workshop by Priyanka Pandit was about this very concern: loss of our green spaces.
As part of Kokuyo Camlin’s ‘Camlin Kids Power’ initiative, Camlin promotes awareness of burning social issues amongst underprivileged children through mediums such as music and art.
How glad we were to Priyanka and the folks from Camlin over to explain food chains, deforestation and food security with the help of a book and a guitar!
To begin with, Priyanka took the students on a tour of the forest. A forest comprises of producers, consumers, decomposers and the likes. The consumers are herbivores and carnivores which are poles apart in every way, but still have one common link: the producer, our very own forest.
While we go on obliviously about our daily musings and chores, the world around us is teeming with life. It may not be at a macro level us primates are used to observing, but it happens at ground level, by a pond or under the canopy of a tree.
Coupled with a lovely illustration, writes Julia Rothman in her delightful book ‘Nature Anatomy’, a little on how even a rotting log, though dead itself, is the source of much life. “A dead tree on the forest floor may not look like much, but the decomposing odd hosts a party of plant and animal life. Many kinds of insect larvae burrow into decaying wood to take shelter from the winter. Snail and snugs delight in the debris and fungi growing from rotting logs. Earthworms digest vast quantities of rotting or organic matter, leaving behind nutrient rich casts. Moist decomposing wood is a perfect nutrient nursery from which leeches, mosses, flowers, and even other trees can set root and thrive.” Such are the designs of nature and such is the unique circle of life.
If this is the case of just a rotting log, what must the case of a prime deciduous forest be? This is exactly what our students found out in this workshop with Reniscience Education.
This year has been a real test for our plants. After a few pleasantly wet days after sowing, we were back to the dry spell.
Needless to say, the patch didn’t fare too well (to add to our troubles, we’ve been having trouble with the hand pump in the school).
We have realized one thing- Composting requires patience and dedication.
As part of our E-Base program for the year, we have taken it upon ourselves to not only go organic, but also be sustainable! Here’s introducing our second project for the year-
Kohka Middle School now has a very exciting addition- a compost unit!