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.
Sometimes, all we need is a little inspiration to give us the thrust in the direction of action. With simply the intention of inspiring on the third anniversary of the E-Base, we had a small celebration to mark three years of educating and motivating to lead change.
This anniversary the students got an opportunity to interact with very dynamic guests- Bhajju Shyam, Vikram Sridhar and the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) of the Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.
The immensely talented and renowned Gond artist Bhajju Shyam wowed the students with the story of his life. Coming from the Pradhan tribe, a sister tribe of the Gond, Bhajju Shyam has seen it all and done it all. From working as a security guard in Bhopal to giving talks in Paris and London; Bhajju ji’s life took a complete 360 degrees turn.
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’ve returned to organic gardening once again this year, but only in a different school. This year, Kohka Middle School has taken it on themselves to go organic.
We’ve finally surfaced! If you’re wondering why we’ve been so quiet all December, we should let you know, we’ve been putting in a little of that extra effort for the winter sowing.
Just like in July, we sowed our seeds with hope. And, looks like we’re going strong!
Our beautiful Bhindi and Barbati plants served their purpose. Our Midday Meal Kitchen in the shcool absorbed all the produce of our organic patch (off course, the produce that remains after the students eat the raw bhindi! Yes, we know what you’re think, raw Bhindi? But, the students love it! We think it has something to do with the sweetness in vegetables when grown organically.)
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!
One would think the failure of half of the patch would bring the morale of our students down. We were expecting some very upset students. However, it turns out our students know how to take things in their stride.
Just as we were basking in the glory of our successful sowing, the weather decided to put an end to it. With record breaking amounts of rainfall, there was absolute no chance our little methi and palak plants could survive. The torrential rains of August and unusual downpours in September ensured the patch a hard time.
So, what’s the damage?
The Methi and Palak plants completely withered under all that rain. Half of the patch flooded and amounted in a complete failure.
The day of heavy rains and our sowing had passed. We were all now patiently waiting for the kali mitti and the seeds to do their job. Given the weather, we were very skeptical about the flowering of the seeds, but we had our fingers crossed (yes, literally, and we made our students cross them too).
Till then, we decided to give our garden the final touches. Every class had their own boards on which they were to write their class details and the vegetables seeds they had sown to put in the organic patch.