The New Boy’s Club: Ganipur High School
Just 2km from Maheshtala Girl’s School is Ganipur High School, an all boy’s institution for classes 5 through 10. On the outside wall of the school are portraits of many Indian intellectuals and leaders. Gandhi, Vivekananda, Tagore, Nehru. All of them keeping watch over the young gentlemen who walk through Ganipur’s entrance gate six out of seven days a week.
Almost all of the boys travel to Ganipur by bicycle. For some, this trip can take up to an hour. However, the bicycle does certainly offer a faster method of travel than walking, and much greener alternative to car or auto transportation. At the back of the school, one can see the convoluted mass of tires and frames where hundreds of the bikes are kept.
One of the teachers at Ganipur claimed that the high school is the “smartest in the area.” One would not have a hard time believing it. The students are very sharp and articulate. They take a range of classes, from Bengali and English to computer class. Every year during the month of February, the school hosts a scientific exhibition, where students from all classes showcase scientific projects that they have created either by themselves or with other classmates. The exhibition is divided into the different subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, computer, etc. Projects can range from a model of an erupting volcano to simple circuitry and robotics.
And now, thanks to the Green Rhinos Program, the young men of Ganipur High School have taken a keen interest in sustainability and biodiversity. They discuss planting trees, preventing pollution, and observing different species of birds and mammals as enthusiastically as they do their favorite footballers and cricketers. The Green Rhinos Program has impressed upon the Ganipur Students their potential and responsibility as Forces for Nature.
The boys turned their attention to the biodiversity of their surroundings, both around their local communities and the campus of the school itself. As one of the student leaders said, “If we are to protect our environment, first me must know what is in our environment.”
The Ganipur Green Rhino Team’s inspiring challenge of better understanding the biodiversity of their surroundings took the form of a biodiversity survey to be completed by each one of the team members. They would name and count the different species of trees, insects, birds, and mammals that made up the web of life around them. The students then presented their findings to the rest of the school in order to build awareness of biodiversity among their classmates. GHS also attended and participated in the Kolkata Sharing Workshop on June 25th, 2016. See them in action in our video here.
The students at Ganipur High School are quick to point out that India is very polluted, and that there is a multitude of problems facing the environment. The Green Rhinos Program has helped them understand their potential as agents of change, and inspired them to think in a way that is solution-oriented.
While completing the project, the boys (who are mostly in classes 8 and 9) generated interest and excitement from the younger students. They felt that they had something important to say, something worth sharing. And in doing so, they have proven themselves to be resilient Nature Leaders, who will continue to stand for biodiversity protection and sustainability.
Check out the video below to learn more about the Ganipur High School’s Green Rhinos Project!
Video created by Global Fellow Intern Claire Healy.