Turning Knowledge into Experience—St. Joseph’s Wadala goes on a Nature Trail

29th September 2011

For 48 students of St. Joseph’s High School (Wadala), the nature trail to the Vikhroli Mangroves was a chance to make their textbook lessons come alive. The trail was conducted by the Godrej Company’s Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Marine Ecology Centre (SPGMEC).

The trail began with Mr. Hemant from the SPGMEC explaining to the students, especially those from Stds. IX and X, the characteristics of mangroves. He helped them relate the plants they were seeing in the mangrove forest to the science topics that they will soon be studying. For the younger children, the trail was an opportunity to touch the mangroves, examine caterpillars and moths, and experience nature at its unspoiled best.

The hilltop view, the aquarium, the mangrove walk, the mangrove nursery and the exhibition at SPGMEC—all these experiences are sure to remain with the students and strengthen their commitment to preserving the natural wealth of our city. 

Workshop on Organic Gardens Held at Don Bosco, Matunga

28th September 2011

Don Bosco Development Society’s GreenLine, an environmental endeavor, hosted a workshop for schools participating in the Green Schools Campaign, on Organic Farming on 28 September 2011. This workshop was conducted by Urban Leaves, an organization with expert understanding of how even the smallest places can be used for the propagation of a new garden. The event was attended by 15 teachers and 55 students, from 14 different schools.

The event began at 10.00 a.m and continued for three hours. The resource team from Urban Leaves included Ms. Purvita Kapadia, Mr. Harshal Deshmukh and Mr. Julius Rego. Fr. Savio Silveira, director of Don Bosco Development Society introduced the resource team to the participants, and also gave to the resource team a glimpse of the objectives, work and the successes of the Green Schools Campaign. Following this, Purvita explained about the organization, and then began explaining the finer details of the work they carried out. When this was done, and as the presentation carried out, a movie clip on the community farming projects in the city of Mumbai was shown. Amazement and awe was seen on all of the students’ and teachers’ faces, as they saw hundreds of vegetables growing organically in small spaces all over the city.  Following this a short movie called She’s Alive…Planet Earth by Vivek Chauhan was also screened.

Ms Purvita told the participants, how Amrut-Mitti, a very fertile, chemical-free soil was prepared by mixing organic waste with red soil and Amrit Jal. This Amrut-Mitti, according to Purvita could be used to start plantations anywhere and everywhere, as it was nutrient rich, and could be used on any surface, at any height. Mr. Julius Rego then showed a number of different plants that had been grown in Amrut-Mitti. Besides that, he also spoke on the importance of co-existence among all elements in nature, and this was resonated through his collection of living caterpillars and butterflies. He also showed an interesting collection of tomato, chili, and curry leaf and lemon plants. He also showed how canna plants could be used to recycle wastewater.

The students and teachers seemed very keen in beginning gardens in their schools. Some of the schools with lesser campus space said that they would look into the option of terrace gardens. Ms. Sarita Tiwari, from St. Dominic Savio High School, Andheri said that the students would not only work on their own garden, but would be looking to take the gardens to their buildings and homes. All in all, with 14 new gardens coming up in the city, here’s to a growing green cover, which will hopefully encourage others to start their own garden projects too.

St. Paul's Boys' High School Dadar set for a Waste Audit

26th September 2011

There are a lot of different things that we have noticed as the Green Schools Campaign has journeyed out this year. There are schools that are doing a great many number of activities and there are schools that are doing a little lesser, since they are new to the campaign. However, one thing that remains constant, through all the schools that we visit, and all the students that we interact with is the fact that everyone wants to do something, everyone wants to make a positive impact. This phenomenal attitude was seen once again today, at St. Paul's Boys' High School, Dadar.  Close to seventy students from the school, all part of the school's Eco-club, attended the first session for the Green Schools Campaign in their school.

Following the GreenLine movie, the children listened attentively to all of the waste facts and figures for the city of Mumbai. The children were unanimous in saying that cleaning the city was an important prerogative and should begin with themselves, and so they decided that keeping the school clean would be their first step. However, the boys here would be not only taking care of the garbage once it was created, but would rather be looking at steps through which they could reduce the garbage in the school, eventually aiming to be a zero-garbage school. so the first activity that they would be carrying out was the waste audit. So enthusiastic are the students here, that they will be starting their audit in three days time.

We are certain that this school, with time, will be one of the leading schools in the Green Schools' Campaign. The GreenLine team wishes the principal, the teachers, and all the students the very best in all their green endeavors. 

Getting the Facts Straight, Planning Ahead—St. Joseph’s High School, Wadala

23rd September 2011 

The eco-leaders of St. Joseph’s Wadala have completed their waste audit! Our second session at this school began with the students presenting the findings of their waste audit, which was conducted over 4 days in the month of September.

The students concluded that the average waste per month, from the entire school, was 286 kg. They identified food waste as the biggest problem. This was followed by paper waste and plastic waste. Further, the audit indicated that a system for segregation of waste needs to be set up and maintained.

The students also interviewed their Principal Fr. Bernard regarding the waste policies of the school, and made a video recording of the interview. The Principal stated that while the school does not have an environmental policy yet, the management and students will work together to draft an Environmental Vision Statement for the school. The students also asked the Principal whether the school’s environmental initiatives can be extended to impact the neighbourhood as well. To this, he replied that programmes such as ‘Green Ganesh’ were the first step in this direction.

The procedure followed during the audit was explained by the eco-club teacher Ms. Padmini. She stated that the teachers held a special staff meeting before the audit began, and assigned each section of the school to a particular teacher and student leader for supervision. This way, the entire school was involved in the audit.

After the presentation, the GreenLine team discussed with the students the ways in which to set up a Waste Management System in the school. The discussion emphasized that when students are involved in waste management, the actual quantity of waste reduces. With this in mind, the eco-leaders of St. Joseph’s Wadala are now starting work on setting up a comprehensive waste management system in their school. And if the way they did their waste audit is anything to go by, the results are sure to be impressive!

Duruelo Convent (Bandra) gets going on the Green Campaign

23rd September 2011

The determination with which the students trooped into the audio-visual hall—all bright and beaming—set the tone for our first session at Duruelo High School, Bandra. All the students from the three divisions of Std. IX were present for the session, along with the captains and leaders from Stds. VII & VIII. And yes, a team of teachers sat through the session too. 

Even the Principal dropped into the hall a couple of times, and at the end of the session met us for a detailed discussion on the follow-up of the activity we had given the students. This school definitely has a lot of green in its DNA!

At the start of our discussion with the students, when we asked them if they believed that it was their responsibility to address the environmental concerns we are faced with today, all hands shot up, and they were unanimous in declaring that they would like to do their bit to protect and improve the environment. They paid rapt attention to the presentation on Waste in Mumbai and keenly followed the details of how to conduct a Waste Audit in the school. At the end of the session, tasks were divided and the students enthusiastically promised to get the audit done in the following week itself.

On our way back to Matunga we kept commenting on the amount of trash that is spilling all over our city. We realized that taking responsibility for waste is not just an environmental issue, but a question of basic good manners. And the students at Duruelo Convent are ready to get involved in spreading this culture of good manners and responsibility! 

The Green Army at Auxilium Convent School, Wadala

22nd September 2011

The future of our country and the world indeed lies in the hands of present and future generations of its citizens. So, without a  doubt, the larger the number of youth and children joining in the endeavor, the better for Mother Earth. 

Going by this thought then, the girls at Auxilium Girls' Convent High School are definitely gearing up to shape up a greener future, happy and safe for all. Proof of this: In a first of its kind, the Green School Campaign session over here in the school, there were no less than 150 students who attended. That's thrice the regular number of students we normally take in a session--and that today was only the first session!

The session we took for the girls included the GreenLine movie, a presentation on Waste in Mumbai and the activity-presentation on conducting a waste audit in the school. Brimming with enthusiasm and so many students wishing to answer questions and be part of the session, it was set to be a mammoth task to arrange all of the girls in teams for the activities. In a span of ten minutes, however, the girls' had been divided into three groups: the Green Doves, the Green Tigers and the Wildcats!

We are sure that here, with all the excitement and action-oriented spirit that the girls have, the waste audit is going to be a breeze of an activity, and will also be helpful in the school's later green activities.

Don Bosco Naigaon Students Make Superb Eco Maps

20th September 2011

The children of Don Bosco High School, Naigaon, had been one excited lot when we reached their school for a Green Schools Campaign session. And why not, the boys and girls had been working hard and long for the session, one that they would be preparing themselves. Today's session was a follow up to the Eco Mapping activity that they had been presented with earlier. A very enthusiastic and bubbly group, the students of the eco-club here did proper justice to the activity, with each team making superb presentations.

The four teams were given four separate tasks: the first team had to present all of the assets that they found in the school; the second team, all the things that needed improvement. The third team looked at all of the assets that were in the immediate vicinity of the school, and the fourth looked into problematic issues in the same area. All of the teams made their presentations substantial by adding powerpoint slideshows, with loads of photographs, and accurate information on the problems that they face. The children not only showed their adeptness at pin-pointing problems that they faced, but also showed quite a mastery by providing feasible solutions for them.  Their presentations were followed by a little review of how the activity was, and this in turn led to presentations on the waste problem in Mumbai, and the student's subsequent activity: carrying out a waste audit in the school.

There were a lot of positive things to notice in this particular session. Firstly, each and ever student of the eco-club was involved in the eco-mapping activity. There was real effort put into making the presentations as good as they were, and even the teacher played an active role in making the presentation interesting. Following our talks with the students, many of them went home and sent e-mails to newspaper correspondents on how the roads in their city are in dire need of repairs, and hence showed will and grit to change Naigaon into a more citizen-responsible. Here's hoping that their waste audit presentation will be just as interesting as their earlier one, if not better!

Greening the Concrete Jungle—Our Lady of Dolours High School, Marine Lines

19th September 2011

The students of Our Lady of Dolours High School, Marine Lines, face a unique set of challenges in their Green School Campaign. The school is situated on a busy road right opposite a noisy railway station, space is limited, and greenery is almost non-existent.

But none of these concerns is likely to stand in the way of the school’s bright and eager eco-club! At the very beginning of the session, the students pointed out that garbage is a major problem in their surroundings and that they are determined to do something about it. After we discussed the waste situation in Mumbai and the process of conducting a waste audit, the students divided themselves into groups and took responsibility for the various tasks in the waste audit. They also took charge of getting their teachers and schoolmates involved in the exercise.

What impressed us most was that the several children expressed their desire to take the lead in environmental activities in their neighbourhoods. They were also up to the challenge of finding a way to compost their wet waste in their limited campus space. And as we left the school after the session, we ran into a group of eco-club members lined up outside the Principal’s office, waiting to ask her for help in getting the Green Schools Campaign started in their campus.

It definitely looks as if the students of this school will soon come up with some unexpected Green innovations! We can’t wait to see what they do next!

St. Anne's High School, Malad, Set for their Second Eco-Map

September 16, 2011

Team GreenLine continued with its second edition of the Green Schools Campaign today, with an interesting session at St. Anne's High School, Malad. What made the session interesting was the fact that the students had already carried out an eco-mapping exercise in the last year, yet wanted to do an eco-mapping of the school. The main difference in the mapping this time is the fact that the students will be doing a much more in-depth one this time. 

A new school on The Green Schools Campaign roster, we wish the  the very best!

On a Nature Trail with Don Bosco Nerul Students...

September 15, 2011

They say a picture says a thousand words... so this one is going to be one heavy blog post!

This cloudy Thursday morning saw us GreenLiners going to the mangroves in Vikhroli, along with the students from Don Bosco high School. The event took place at the Godrej Company's Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Marine Ecology Centre. The beauty of the place speaks for itself, and is one place everyone should be! 

The rest through pictures!

St. Paul's Convent, Dadar Girls Get Set to Audit School Waste

September 13, 2011

Team GreenLine saw itself at St. Paul's Girls' Convent High School, Dadar on a warm Tuesday morning, and it was there to conduct the school's first session, in this, the Second Edition of the Green Schools Campaign.There were a good number of things we noticed as we entered the school premises itself. For one, even though there is not too much space that the school can consider its campus, there is a whole lot of environment-friendly work being done here. We noticed a number of trees all around, and also the presence of dustbins all over the place. What however, really caught attention was the fact that even though the school was going through a recess, and even though there were students eating all over the place, there was not a single chip packet, chocolate wrapper, or food waste anywhere to be seen. This shows that the girls know the value of keeping the school as tidy as possible and also that unnecessary wastage itself is wrong. 

Our session started with Miss Mary introducing us to the students of the ninth standard, and then a student herself giving us her take on the environment, and ways that the environment could be saved. We found this girl's speech was only a reflection of the entire student force there, and that all of them believed that saving the world is not someone else's work, it was everyone's. Following this Fr. Savio introduced Alden and Lyra to the students. Alden took the students on a virtual visit to some of the dirtiest dumps in Mumbai, and also let them search through most of the  objects that made for our garbage. Following this, the team explained the first task to the girls--a waste audit. The aim of the audit is to understand the problem of waste in the school, and accordingly, to develop strategies to address it.

Here's hoping that the initial excitement and responsiveness that the students have shown at the St. Paul's Girls' Convent School stays throughout, and the come with brilliant results in the Green Schools Campaign this year itself!

Its time for a Waste Audit at Auxilium Convent High School, Bandra!

September 12,  2011

The girls at Auxilium Convent High School were one excited lot today-- they were having their first session ever as a nature club. All of them girls of the ninth standard, had a good idea of what was going to be the subject for the session and seemed enthusiastic about having such a session. We were wondering if the girls would be receptive and interactive about the topic for the session, but once we did introduce ourselves, the girls seemed more than happy that we were there. They kept replying to all of the queries we had for them, and all of their answers were quick, well-thought ones. It was good to see their active participation for a good one and a half hour.

The session began with Fr. Savio introducing the topic of waste and explaining why it is so important to tackle the problem at the earliest possible. This was followed by the GreenLine movie on Planet Earth. The girls ooh-ed and aah-ed throughout the movie, and it was a happy sight to see them all enjoying. This was followed by a presentation by Alden on the state of waste and its vast amounts in the city. The girls were adept at answering and identifying the problem areas in our city well. Next, we did a presentation on the activity that the students will engage in during the coming month: conducting a waste audit in the school. The girls will now make a presentation next month on the same, and then subsequently take up other green activities.

We hope that the enthusiasm of the students of Auxilium Convent High School continues through the year, and they are able to convince others to join them in their green endeavor! We also wish them all the best for the Green Schools Campaign!

Moving Forward—Don Bosco Matunga

9th September 2011

The Nature Club of Don Bosco Matunga is making steady progress in turning their school into a more environment-friendly place. Having completed their waste audit, the students made a presentation on their findings. They concluded that while the per capita production of waste is relatively low, littering and waste segregation are major concern areas in the school.

To help the students work out strategies of effective waste management, Ms. Kalpana Andhare from Stree Mukti Sanghatna explained the types of waste that can be recycled, the actual process of recycling, and the hazards posed by excessive use of plastic. After watching Stree Mukti Sanghatna’s film on waste, the students realized that it is not waste itself that is ‘bad’; rather, the problem lies in our faulty methods of disposal.

Ms. Kalpana also explained some of the cultural reasons for the increasing amount of waste, and some of the students also pointed out that many environmental problems are caused by our ‘use and throw’ consumption habits.

After the session, the leaders of the four teams within the nature club met with the GreenLine staff to work out a plan to curb littering and ensure correct segregation of waste in their school. Armed with a long list of ideas, lots of enthusiasm and a new-found confidence in their role as environmental leaders, these students are sure to make positive changes in the atmosphere of their school as well as the habits of the students.

New Challenge at Hand for Sacred Heart, Vashi Students - Preparing a Green Policy

6th September 2011

Our session at Sacred Heart High School Vashi, was very different from all of the other sessions that we've had in this edition of the Green Schools Campaign. For one, even before we could began our session, the students from the Nature Club made a presentation for us, with fantastic photographs, videos and explanations of all of the activities that the school is already implementing. Not surprising then, that this school won the Greenest School award last year! If their presentation is anything to go by, the rest of the schools not only have good competition ahead, but also a whole lot of ideas and suggestions to pick up.

The topic chosen for the session Sacred Heart High School was making a Green Policy for the school. The aim of this assignment is to ensure that the school--which is already active in environmental projects--sustains its green culture even after the current batch of students passes out. This policy-making exercise will involve everyone in the school in drawing up guidelines for a green campus, city, and society. The Nature Club members will therefore be setting the standard for all future students and teachers, and will also learn to plan strategies for advocacy. For a planet that's dying due to several assaults on her ecosystems, students working towards green economies are the need of the hour.

We wish Sacred Heart High School all the best in their environmental endeavours!

St. Xavier's Boys' Academy Gets Ready for Green Interviews

7th September 2011

St. Xavier's Boys Academy Churchgate had its first session with GreenLine yesterday, and the boys were probably amongst the bubbliest lot of students we had come across. Right from the first thought-process activity that we engaged them in, the boys asked innumerable questions, and interestingly enough, even sought to answering each other's questions. It was evident from the way these students answered, who were by the way, all members of the Nature Club, that they knew why they were there at the session, and that the environment held a place of importance in their everyday life.

Since the boys are in the Green Schools Campaign for the first time, they will be first doing a survey of sorts- they will be seeing how environmentally conscious the students, teachers, other staff, and even the principal are. The method that they will be following is the direct interview method, and the primary aim of the activity is to understand where their school stands, with respect to awareness towards the environment. This will also play a pivotal role in understanding what will be the future course of activities for their school's Nature Club.

We wish the students, teachers and all those involved in this environmental endeavor at St. Xavier's Boys Academy all the very best, and are sure that by the end of the year, all of you are going to achieve whatever green aim you choose!