Published: 12th October 2019
Plantation drives organised by this Odisha group goes a step further to build accountability
Abhishek Kisan and Bikash Ray Mohapatra are also the front runners of the campaign Green Hero which is growing quite popular with students and schools
Plantation drives are held all the time, especially after the deadly Cyclone Fani hit and robbed Odisha off its green cover, it is the need of the hour. But there is a special skill involved in engaging young students in these drives and ensuring that they remain engaged till the sapling grows up to be a tree. Pratik Agrawal and Co seemed to have mastered this art through their Green Hero camping which they started in June. "We thought to ourselves, everyone does plantation drives, but after that what?" says the 21-year-old.
Green thumb: Staff with the Green Hero of the month of July | (Pic: Pratik Agrawal)
Hence, the plan was to approach schools, conduct sessions and distribute saplings, just like every other organisations does. The difference will be that they will encourage students monthly by giving away prizes to the green hero who takes care of the plant and ensures that no weed grows around it and of course, there are the monthly selfies. "Imagine seeing a smiling picture of a student on the bulletin board with the sapling they have sowed and nurtured, it motivates others to do a good job with their sapling too," explains the students of College Of Agriculture, Chiplima, Sambalpur and adds, "This will ensure that focusing on the environment becomes a daily routine for students and it will inculcate in them a certain sensitivity when it comes to trees." They already have five schools on board including Panchayat High School, Chiplima; Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir, Panchayat High School, Goshala and two others. "Actually, we visited the District Forest Officer of Sambalpur first, he suggested that we need to carry out this project on a large scale to really make a difference," says Pratik.
They understand the importance of social media and are spreading the word there too
To ensure that all those who volunteer go about selecting the correct spot to plant (away from the danger of being chopped down) and keep the weeds at bay, mentors are allocated to each school who are available to answer any doubts and are just a phone call away. "We train only interested volunteers about fertilisers and more. Till date, we have engaged 50 sincere students under our programme," says Pratik, who intends to roll out this programme at the village level as well. They intend to launch one new campaign every month and currently, are going strong with their Green Hero campaign.