Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Motivating kids for a greener City

Motivating kids for a greener City
S Lalitha, Bangalore:

The lush-green 100 acres of the Railway Quarters in Yelahanka has just got greener.

A novel initiative to make children emotionally attached and feel protective towards trees has proved to be a runaway hit in the Quarters, that caters to employees of the Rail Wheel Factory (RWF) in Yelahanka.

On July 13, the Horticulture Department of the RWF initiated the ‘Vamsharuksha Vanagalu Scheme’ by offering the first sapling to a student of the Kendriya Vidyalaya within its campus. Now, just two months later, 634 saplings dot the entrance to houses in the West Colony and East Colony of the Quarters.

The tree that adorns the garden of each house has a steel placard which reads thus: In honour of Asha, In honour of Nivedita....and so on. Some trees are even dedicated to a dead grandfather or grandmother. “The idea to goad children to name the trees to honour themselves or their family members was aimed at motivating the young to take responsibility for the growing of the trees,” explains Pandian, in-charge of the Horticulture department.

And it has clearly succeeded. Asha, doing her Class V, rushes out every morning to see how much her Chikku sapling had grown during the previous night. And, she fondly rushes to nurse it with her water mug in hand. On being asked about its growth, pat comes her response, “When I grow big, it will also grow big.” She has inspired her friend Salomi also to adopt a sapling.

Nivedita, doing her Class VIII, is also very attached to her sapling. “I am a part of my school’s Eco Club and I am very happy to have a tree bearing my name,” she says excitedly.

Fruit-bearing trees

The saplings are all fruit-bearing trees that include Mango, Jackfruit, Papaya and Sweet Lime. It is quite interesting to see the department maintaining records of the “owners” signing a form and taking responsibility for the saplings gifted to them.
The saplings and the name boards are provided to families free of cost and they are taught how to raise them.

The students have replicated it in their school too by planting 125 trees within its premises. RWF General Manager, R K Upadhyay, said that it was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who mooted the idea of creating eco-consciousness among the children during a recent visit here. “We can already lay claim to being the greenest part in the City with more than 33,000 trees adorning the factory and colony. This effort will further improve our surroundings.”

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