Staff Reporter

A World Environment Day programme led by Education Department

KANNUR: School students in the State will plant a tree each on their house compounds on the World Environment Day on June 5 as part of the `My Tree' programme being implemented through the schools.

The project for planting trees has been planned as one that is set to be a model for the entire country. According to an official press release here, an estimated 25 lakh students will be involved in the project. The project, if goes ahead as planned, will occupy a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, it hopes. Nearly one crore people including parents will be directly involved in the project, it adds.

`My Tree' project has been envisaged as a collective initiative under the leadership of the Education Department. Planting materials will be distributed by the Social Forestry wing of the Forest and Wildlife Department. School-level committees to implement the project have already been constituted. Moreover, details regarding the species of saplings to be supplied for the project have been identified, according to the press release. Each student will be supplied the species of trees he or she demands.

Implementation of the project in the State has been preceded by elaborate arrangements. A State-level workshop for teachers, education activists, environment activists and Forest officials has already been conducted in connection with the project. The press release says that saplings will be distributed among the students by June 5. They will also be supplied specially designed diaries. As many as 25 lakh copies of the diaries have already been printed. The diary is envisaged as a handbook and a rich source of information relating to environmental issues. The students participating in the project will take care of the saplings they plant and write their observations in the diaries. Parents and teachers will observe the diaries.

The new project is sought to be different from similar projects conducted earlier. In 2002, a project was implemented for planting trees in public places through the National Service Scheme. Nearly 16 lakh saplings were planted that time. It was not found to be successful in the absence of proper care. The latest project envisages planting of the saplings inside compounds of houses. The students are expected to give personal care in ensuring the growth of the tree.

Each district is expected to require total 1.5 lakh to two lakh saplings for the project. Two lakh saplings are to be supplied in Kannur district. The saplings and the diaries will be supplied to schools before the school reopens.

Assistant Conservator of Forests O. Jayaraj said that all arrangements were under way to supply the saplings to the schools from May 30. The students would get the planting materials before June 4, he said.