Butterfly gardens in schools bring children close to nature

Published on Nov 30, 2019 08:15 PM IST
HT Image
HT Image
ByAnkita G Menon, Thane

With an aim to draw children towards the environment, schools are developing butterfly gardens. For instance, Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School in Thane introduced a new way of celebrating birthdays. Instead of distributing chocolates with their peers on their birthdays, the teachers encourage students to plant a sapling in the school garden to mark the day.

Sahana Mahale, a Class 6 student of Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, had planted a hibiscus plant in the school premises on her birthday last year. Like Mahale, other students too have planted fruit and flower saplings on their birthdays since June 2018.

With experts and horticulturists on board, students are often given a tour of the garden with insights on the various species of butterflies and its life cycle.

“On birthdays we would all circle around the new plantation and the one, whose birthday it was, would plant the sapling while we all sing the birthday song. We enjoy spending time here as we get to learn about the different types of butterflies as well as the fruit and flower plants,” said Mahale.

“Through the butterfly garden we teach students to care about the environment. They enjoy the process of planting saplings, learn about the birds and butterflies and the need to conserve nature. This is a fun way to make students environmentally conscious from an early age,” said Revathi Srinivasan, Principal, Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School.

With around 500 such saplings, the school’s butterfly garden is spread across 700 square feet. Similar initiatives have been taken up in Sacred Heart School, Kalyan and Shreerang Vidyalaya, Thane.

At Sacred Heart School, students were provided a special basket to throw the seeds from the fruits they consume. These seeds were planted and a butterfly garden was built in 2017. There are over 37 different species of butterflies in the 3,500 square feet garden.

“A few months ago, we also started keeping leftover fruits in the feeder. It attracts the blue leaf butterfly, which directly feeds on the nectar from the fruits. Children find visiting the garden to be a destressing activity,” said Albin Anthony, Principal, Sacred Heart school.

The environmental studies department at the school is also teaching students from Class 7 to Class 10 about the importance of birds and butterflies for the environment and how the impact of global warming can lead to their extinction. They also teach how students can develop a hobby through environment conservation while keeping themselves away from gadgets.

“We have learnt how natural habitats for birds and butterflies are destroyed due to human activities. Through the butterfly garden, we are able to help them by providing a habitat for them. It is an amazing experience to look at these beautiful creatures every day,” said Shrijan Shetty, a Class 7 student of Sacred Heart School.

At Shreerang Vidyalaya in Thane, a 2,000-square feet barren area filled with muck was transformed by the school into a butterfly garden. It has been six months since the garden was developed. Teachers said the kindergarten children enjoy it the most.

“This has been a boon for both parents and students who spend their free time in the garden amid the greenery and natural environment. The butterfly garden is an attraction for outsiders as well, so we keep it open for others after school hours are over,” said Pramod Sawant, trustee, Shreerang School.

What are its benefits

Children learn about environment conservation

They learn about the species of butterflies and also the types of plants they are attracted to

Students can also observe the life cycle of the butterfly and learn about similar insects

They learn how the impact of global warming can lead to the extinction of these species

Visiting the garden is destressing for children

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