Filling in the Green Gaps: Environment and community with class 7 of Welham Girls’ School
How humans adapt to, depend on, and modify their natural environment all constitute the human – environment interactions. These interactions are often determined by regional and cultural norms. As a part of the final module for Flow India’s ACC-TIVATE programme for Class VII of the Welham Girls’ School, the students explored these relationships between communities and their immediate natural environment.
‘Filling in the Green Gap’ started out with a bang, as the students were asked to design a game with only rudimentary rules and instructions in place. The students were encouraged to suggest their modifications and create own rules and variations. By collaborating and designing their games in teams, the students explored the intricate relationship between human, fauna, flora, and other natural resources. The students were further made aware of their local environment at the school campus through a nature walk and eco-mapping of the existing green spaces.
Through interactive learning sessions with teachers and students from the Blue Star Van Gujjar School in Mohand, Uttar Pradesh, the students were exposed to the lives of Van Gujjars, a nomadic pastoralist group who fall under the Scheduled Tribes List. The school is managed by the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK). The entire student body quickly overcame whatever little hurdles of unfamiliarity they had initially faced and interacted with one another singing their school songs and discussing their different lifestyles. A quick visit to the dera helped the students understand the current difficulties and challenges faced by the community today as nomads. As a community that depends entirely on dairy products, the Van Gujjar community showed their tremendous generosity by offering a refreshing cup of chaas (buttermilk).
Back at the school, the students were encouraged to interact with the school staff members and senior students to get a picture of how the natural environment on the school campus has changed over the years. This little activity helped the students to understand the definite relationship between development and environment. Many students were appalled by the depleting population of birdlife to be found on campus in the early days, since their school houses were named after these very birds.
The final session required the students to collaborate on a collective reflection on the ecological challenges faced by the school community and the possible solutions for the same. In groups, the students came up with brilliant ideas which they presented through posters, skits and announcements to bring about awareness within the school community.
We tend to be self-absorbed as humans and do not think outside our sphere of influence. More specifically, if something in the world doesn’t directly affect us we give little or no attention to it. Filling in the Green Gap project helped us appreciate the inevitable connections between the humans and our surrounding environment.happy wheel