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Where students nurture trees for better grades

By RITURAJ BORTHAKUR

GUWAHATI, Dec 22 - Guess what determines project marks of the students of Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phukan ME School at Azara? It is the growth of the sapling nurtured by the student. Some 2 km from the grimy Baragaon garbage disposal site across the serene Deepor Beel, staff and students of the ME school, located at Chakardeo, are scripting a unique conservation story, emerging as stewards of the environment.

Every staff and student has planted a sapling and they are responsible for watering and taking care of the tree. In fact, each tree has a plaque bearing the name of the �owner�.

�We award project marks of the students based on the growth of the trees they look after. As primary planters, the students have developed a sense of ownership, knowledge of the trees and awareness regarding conserving the environment. We realised that if we name the trees, the students will look after them better,� Binod Chandra Das, a senior teacher at the school told The Assam Tribune.

It all started way back in 2010 when the WWF launched an awareness drive at the school, aiming at protecting the fast degrading environment of the Deepor Beel, a Ramsar site.

�They (WWF) sponsored a herbal garden on the school premises and also initiated a plantation drive. That has helped the students connect to the benefit of tress and foster environmental stewardship. Ever since, the students have been conducting awareness camps in the adjacent villages and even volunteering to keep accessible parts of the Deepor Beel clean occasionally,� said headmaster Bhupen Chandra Thakuria.

People from other places who have visited the school, including environment activist Jadav Payeng, forest officials, students from other schools, etc., have also planted trees in their names within the school premises. Set up in 1978, the ME school was provincialised in 1985. Currently it has eight faculty members, 89 students and two casual employees.

�Every morning before the classes begin, we water the plants and give manure which we prepare ourselves. There are a variety of trees on the school premises, including fruit trees, neem, krishnachura, cotton, nahor etc,� Borosha Kalita, a Class VIII student, said.

Asked what made him engage in the activity, another student Manoj Rabha said, �We will live only if trees live. For a healthy planet we need to grow more and more trees. Man, animal, birds� all need trees to survive.�

The students also ensure that there is no litter in the school campus. �They make it a point to dispose of even small plastic foils and pieces of papers lying around,� the school head said.

Trees are also planted during special occasions like birth anniversaries of famous personalities and festivals.

However, lack of sources of water has impeded the efforts of the school staff and students. �During the lean season, the students bring water from the nearby ponds and even the Deepor Beel. If we have to ensure survival of all trees, we need a water source.

�Moreover, lack of a boundary wall has led to destruction of some saplings by miscreants,� the school head added.

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Where students nurture trees for better grades

GUWAHATI, Dec 22 - Guess what determines project marks of the students of Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phukan ME School at Azara? It is the growth of the sapling nurtured by the student. Some 2 km from the grimy Baragaon garbage disposal site across the serene Deepor Beel, staff and students of the ME school, located at Chakardeo, are scripting a unique conservation story, emerging as stewards of the environment.

Every staff and student has planted a sapling and they are responsible for watering and taking care of the tree. In fact, each tree has a plaque bearing the name of the �owner�.

�We award project marks of the students based on the growth of the trees they look after. As primary planters, the students have developed a sense of ownership, knowledge of the trees and awareness regarding conserving the environment. We realised that if we name the trees, the students will look after them better,� Binod Chandra Das, a senior teacher at the school told The Assam Tribune.

It all started way back in 2010 when the WWF launched an awareness drive at the school, aiming at protecting the fast degrading environment of the Deepor Beel, a Ramsar site.

�They (WWF) sponsored a herbal garden on the school premises and also initiated a plantation drive. That has helped the students connect to the benefit of tress and foster environmental stewardship. Ever since, the students have been conducting awareness camps in the adjacent villages and even volunteering to keep accessible parts of the Deepor Beel clean occasionally,� said headmaster Bhupen Chandra Thakuria.

People from other places who have visited the school, including environment activist Jadav Payeng, forest officials, students from other schools, etc., have also planted trees in their names within the school premises. Set up in 1978, the ME school was provincialised in 1985. Currently it has eight faculty members, 89 students and two casual employees.

�Every morning before the classes begin, we water the plants and give manure which we prepare ourselves. There are a variety of trees on the school premises, including fruit trees, neem, krishnachura, cotton, nahor etc,� Borosha Kalita, a Class VIII student, said.

Asked what made him engage in the activity, another student Manoj Rabha said, �We will live only if trees live. For a healthy planet we need to grow more and more trees. Man, animal, birds� all need trees to survive.�

The students also ensure that there is no litter in the school campus. �They make it a point to dispose of even small plastic foils and pieces of papers lying around,� the school head said.

Trees are also planted during special occasions like birth anniversaries of famous personalities and festivals.

However, lack of sources of water has impeded the efforts of the school staff and students. �During the lean season, the students bring water from the nearby ponds and even the Deepor Beel. If we have to ensure survival of all trees, we need a water source.

�Moreover, lack of a boundary wall has led to destruction of some saplings by miscreants,� the school head added.

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