Ziraat Times Exclusive

Srinagar, Dec 4:

J&K Private Schools Association (PSA) has set a target of planting one million trees  across J&K by 2023.

This will be the largest of its kind tree plantation drive involving students in J&K state. About half a million students are expected to participate in this campaign.

“It is an endeavor that is aimed at inculcating environmental responsibility among our future generations and improve our environment. We will work closely with the Forest Department and other stakeholders”, Manzoor Wangnoo, who heads PSA’s environment and moral education department, told Ziraat Times.

The idea behind the plan is to engage students of private schools in planting, caring and maintaining the trees they will plant, G. N. Var, Chairman, Private Schools Association, Kashmir, said.

PSA plans to develop a strategy document that will spell out the strategy about the whole plan. Trees of various varieties will be planted in the premises of educational institutions, state lands, urban spaces, degraded forests and other public spaces with scanty or no tree cover.

Ziraat Times will be a collaborating partner in this  campaign, and will work closely with the PSA in this endeavour.

“The strategy document will not only spell out how and when the plan will be executed, it will also describe how to manage the saplings, engage students in creating saplings, the operating procedures, the follow up actions  and other things”, Mr Wangnoo said.

One of the striking aspects of the plan is to make saplings development and tree plantation a part of extra-curricular project-based activities for students in the schools.

If we make this activity a project-based activity, we expect children will not only take deeper interest in this exercise but will think through the whole process, eventually helping in making them care for the environment even when they grow up, says Mr Var.

Mian Javed  Hussain (IFS) has voluntarily associated with the proposed greening mission and allied environmental concerns spearheaded by the PSA for providing expert technical assistance and guidance for successful execution of the task on honorary basis.

We are in the process of working out the operational nitty gritty about the types of trees, geographical suitability, sustainability and other aspects for this campaign, Mr Javed told Ziraat Times.

The school association intends to make the campaign self sustaining one. It also intends to develop nurseries within school premises to generate the large number of saplings required for the campaign.

“Our vision is to make this campaign sustainable and result-oriented. We will develop a robust mechanism in making it work”, Mr Mangnoo says.

Are there similar school-based tree plantation campaigns?

Environment Online – ENO is a global virtual school and network spread to over 10 000 schools in 157 countries. Schools in these countries, including India, started to plant trees in 2004 and have planted 100 million by 2017.

Under this campaign, trees are planted especially in UN thematic days in May (ecological biodiversity) and September (day for peace). In J&K trees are expected to be planted throughout the year in various climatic zones of Jammu and Kashmir divisions.