Our theme for Earth Day 2015 was: People Need Nature. Students on our Green Team Committee came up with the theme after watching the following video, put out by http://natureisspeaking.org
We kicked off our celebration by listening to our very own Hema Maira, Elementary Indian Studies teacher and Tiger Advocate. Ms. Maira has taught at AES for more than 30 years and is currently the ES Indian Studies teacher. Her first trip to Ranthambore was in 1984. She had not even heard of the place or dreamt about seeing tigers in the wild. Her environmental activities and work started actively and seriously in March, 2010. A dream come true for her is organizing the fifth grade trip to Ranthambore thereby providing such a rich wildlife experience for our students. While her heart seems to beat for tigers, she is passionate about nature and the environment as a whole. She is a birdwatcher, too and LOVES traveling to game reserves more than anything else.
Students worked in Advisory Groups and spent the afternoon involved in two ecology-centered activities.
The first activity involved choosing a topic, investigating the topic to gather some information that would help students to come up with short creative eco-skits that were performed to kindergarten and 2nd grade students. The topics explored were: Water Conservation, Litter and Solid Waste, Recycling, Conserving Energy, E-Trash, Paper Usage Air Pollution.
The skits included the following components:
- What is the problem?
- Why is it a problem?
- Who is responsible for creating this problem?
- Do you have a role in this problem?
- What are some possible solutions?
- How can you be a part of the solution?
In addition to creating eco-skits, students also sorted, decorated, and wrote eco-messages to elementary students. These messages accompanied a Kochia sapling gift.
After presenting the skits, sixth grade students gifted each elementary student a Kochia sapling.
Seventh grade students went on an environmental tour and planted trees. In the environment walk, there were three different strands: food, water and air.
For FOOD, students visited the Compost Station behind the Tennis courts where Ms. Sarabjeet Kaur, the Assistant Facilities Manager spoke. This station has a new digester which is a machine that expedites the composting process. Waste food from the cafeteria is ‘fed’ daily to the machine. It creates compost that is used across the grounds of the school. Also, more traditional composting methods are used for the leaves, grass from the school grounds.
For WATER, students visited the Water Filtration/Sewage Treatment Plant where Mr. Vishal Verma, a supervisor at FMO spoke. First students looked at the school’s water filtration system, which is located under the pool. The water filtration system is an RO filtration system much like what many people have in their homes. The water, provided by the NDMC, is taken through multiple filtration processes to make it clean and drinkable. Secondly, students looked at the Sewage Treatment Plant, which is located in the area between gate 5 and the gym. The STP is a place where the excess water from toilets and sinks is treated. This water, after it has been cleaned, in not drinkable, but can be used to water the plants on campus.
For AIR, students focused on air quality and looked at what AES is doing with Mr. Ashwani, the AES head of security, and Mr. Jeff Smith, a parent and air quality advocate. This station was located in the ESMPR, which is in the Peepal Building. The Peepal building has been a pilot project for AES, and has undergone many changes to improve the air quality in the building. Students learned about some of the changes that have been made that have contributed to the improved air quality in the building, and the new machine that AES has purchased.
Eighth grade students had the opportunity to work with 2 different documentary filmmakers to learn about how to craft an advocacy message by
- Telling a story visually
- Conveying a strong message in a short period of time
- Reaching an Audience
Students then broke up into small groups of 2-3 students each, and they filmed and created an advocacy video or slideshow using the strategies learned about in the larger group presentation. They created final productions that were 20 – 30 second PSAs (public service announcements) that focused on a variety of themes.