New Delhi: A unique initiative to help students forge a lifelong bonding with nature by growing saplings at the school nursery and creating a green canopy was launched here today, covering 1000 schools in the first phase.
The 'school nursery yojana' seeks to engage Class VI to IX students in growing saplings in an identified open space of 100 sq meter in the school premises, prepare beds for raising saplings and create about 1000 saplings per year.
"At the time of class promotions, they would take back home the grown-up saplings, plant them in gardens or at friends' or relatives' place," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
The mission would not only bring the students closer to nature but learn to live with nature, he said.
The programme would cover 1000 schools in the first phase and would be extended to 5000 schools in the next year and 10,000 schools the following year, he said.
The ambitious mission comes against the backdrop of efforts to inculcate the spirit of protecting the environment right from the formative stages of a child and help address the issue of climate change.
Describing it as an "on-field" training exercise, Javadekar said his ministry would also take up "urban forestation" to build a green canopy in cities and towns facing the challenge of rapid urbanisation and depleting green cover.
Under the school nursery yojana, students will grow saplings as part of practical exercise for biology classes and extra-curriculum activities.
The schools will have eco clubs and school principles will maintain the nursery for at least five years
Each school will initially receive first time financial grant of Rs 25,000 for creation of the nursery with essential facilities.
The state forest departments will guide and provide technical support to schools under the scheme.
As part of their activities, students will learn to prepare a mixture of good earth, soil manure, filling of polybags, earthern pots, storage of seeds.