Learning beyond the classrooms

Submitted by Ruchi Rai

“You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand, that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.”

— Professor Wangari Maathai

Being an educational organization, Sanskriti The Gurukul shares the responsibility of building the future of our nation. As we are the creators of future citizens, thus it is even more important for us to respect what nature has given us and also educate our students about our environment by developing the sense of belongingness towards the surroundings.

Sanskriti The Gurukul is located in Guwahati, Assam Province, India, a biodiversity hotspot with one of the highest avian biodiversity of the Indian subcontinent. As such, it is our prime responsibility to conserve and sustain our surroundings. In past few years, with a spurt in economic growth, Guwahati has observed a vast environmental degradation.

The new surges for agricultural and industrial developments in the region have had some significant impacts on the local ecosystem and highly vulnerable avian populations. Hence it is important to generate awareness and develop a sustainable mechanism for judicious use of the abundant natural resources of this unique ecosystem. We need to develop an empathetic new generation who has the realization that the economic priorities should not completely erode the importance of conserving big parts of this pristine habitat. Taking this thought forward Sanskriti The Gurukul decided to own the responsibility and do their bit in conserving the environment.

1. Embracing green cover

The total area of the school campus accounts for approximately 160,000 square feet, of which 20,000 is plant cover. There is a large variety of trees, including 250 coconut trees and 200 betel nut trees as well as mango, olive, guava, litchi, papaya, palm and gulmohar growing around the campus. The campus comprises of plants belonging to all the divisions of plant kingdom, providing a large opportunity for the students to learn about plant classification and admire the vast biodiversity supported by the region.

2. Managing waste

The waste management technique followed in the school is completely based on the 4R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse) with waste properly segregated. The school works with an organization that collects the waste on regular basis and then converts it to fuel by drying, shredding and compressing it into briquettes or fuel pellets. They have adopted a school app to limit the use of paper and students used empty plastic bottles to create planters. This even extends to sewage, as the school has its own sewage treatment plant that ensures that water is cleaned and made available for reuse

3. Switching to renewable energy and reducing energy consumption

In the session 2018-19, the school set up 70KW solar panels to generate its own electricity. Besides this, the school building is designed so that each and every room receives sufficient sunlight and has proper ventilation. Switching off the electrical appliances when not in use is the basic rule implemented in all the classrooms and staff rooms. While air-conditioners are installed in the rooms on the second floor, these classes operate on a closed door policy when air conditioners are switched on. By closing the doors, a substantial amount of energy is saved because the cool air stays in the room and less energy is needed to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

4. Switching to a no plastic campus

The thermocol disposable cups used in the school were replaced by disposable paper cups. Students are not allowed to carry any belongings in polythene bags, instead they are always advised to carry their belongings in canvas bags. This further motivates them to reduce the use of plastic.

Celebrating World Environment Day

5. Tackling plastic pollution

The Ecology House, an ecology club at the school, laid its foundation stone by motivating students to make paper bags from old newspapers and distributed these bags free of cost among the local shopkeepers of Pamohi Village, located near the school. They convinced the shopkeepers not to use polythene bags by explaining their harmful effects. The club continues to prepare paper bags on a large scale and carry out distribution drives in the nearby areas.

6. Greening the curriculum

The school offers an Environmental Science stream to students since 2016. What started with 7 students opting for Environmental Science and now has 36 students from Grade 9 to 12. We are really hopeful that in coming session more students will be taking up the subject.

7. Being part of the solution

Inform, Involve and Celebrate! This is the best way to generate interest and motivate the students to participate. Empowering the students by providing them with correct knowledge and exposure related to various environmental issues by organizing workshops with environmentalists and conducting field trips has helped us in generating awareness about environmental conservation not only among the student and parent fraternity but also among the local community. Celebrating World Environment Day is a regular feature in school for, with every child from Toddlers to Grade 12 being involved.


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