World Environment Day



On June 5th people from all over the globe celebrated World Environment Day, and Isha Home School was no exception.

Students had the opportunity to interact with Mr. Joseph Vattakaven, a tiger biologist from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  Unlike his previous visit, this time, instead of talking about tigers, he spoke about another one of their jungle mates – elephants. He began with the disclaimer that he is not an expert, and that his fascination with the largest land mammal was incidental, as he had to travel (and at times live) on the backs of elephants while studying tigers, and in the process learnt much about them. He started off with a short video, IFAW’s 2011 Animal Action Education video titled “Elephants Never Forget” which provided background scientific/zoological data, explanations of the role of elephants in their ecosystems, and highlighted the plight of these emotional, intelligent creatures. This was followed by a discussion on elephants and man-animal conflict keeping in mind the local context, and an engaging Q & A session.

Junior and Middle School students engaged in nature activities. Juniors learnt about trees within the campus, drew silhouettes and took leaf and bark rubbings. Later, they ate juicy mangoes and prepared the seeds to create saplings. They enjoyed a read-aloud of author and artist Lynne Cherry’s award-winning picture book The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest which is about rainforest conservation.

In the meantime, Middle Schoolers tried their hand at nature art. Each group collected fallen leaves, seed pods, twigs, grasses, and flowers from their surroundings and created their own masterpieces along with a story and/or explanation. They watched two short films, The Man Who Planted Trees, an Academy Award winning Animated short film by Frédéric Back based on the book by French author Jean Giono on the life of Elzéard Bouffier, and Forest Man, winner of the Best Emerging Documentary Short Film Cannes 2014 by William D McMaster based on the life of Padma Shri Jadav Payeng. Interested students had the opportunity to go birding in the evening.

Class 8 & 9 students participated in Day 1 of the Velliangiri Mountains Cleaning Drive, a 4-consecutive Sunday initiative organized by the Thenkailya Bhakti Peraval, and spent the day removing trash and plastic. Not the easiest job in the world, but it was an important one given the excessive amount of garbage. Class 10 & 12 students were taken on a walk to the areas surrounding the school campus, including the Semmedu kulam, where they saw desilting work in progress. The day closed with the screening of ‘Before the Flood’, a 2016 documentary film about climate change directed by Fisher Stevens starring Leonardo DiCaprio which highlighted the very topical issue of climate change and what can be done to stop it.