Image Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
A government primary school in Firozabad’s Keethot village has become a centre of attraction for its lush greenery comprising over 300 species of plants, including a four-foot tall sandalwood tree. Spread over, 5,500 square feet area of school campus, the garden is a result of the efforts of the school headmaster Mohammad Shahid, who with the help of the students, has sown and nurtured plants that bear fruits and flowers, and vegetables used for preparing midday meals for the children.Such is Sahid’s dedication to his garden that he travels 14 km from his home to the school even on Sundays and during vacations without missing a single day.
Posted at the school in 2011, Shahid said, “I initially started growing plants in the school as a hobby. Later, gram pradhans and villagers supported the initiative. Students have remained the biggest support. Under my supervision, they have worked hard to nurture the plants. It is also a great learning process for them and they enjoy it.”
Over a decade of hard work and use of organic fertilizers and vermicompost have yielded results. Today, medicinal plants including chinaberry, kigelia, sudarshan, arjuna, drumstrick, tulsi and neem find a place in the garden. A variety of fruits and vegetables like mango, lemon, banana, mulberry, bottleguard, beans, cauliflower, tomato, garlic and onion are grown. Sunflower, rose, jasmine and a variety of seasonal flowers add colour to the campus.
The garden attracts birds and bees alike. As Class 5 student Shiva Jadon put it, “Recently, a peahen laid six eggs. We have placed earthen pots filled with water at various places to quench the thirst of the birds.”
The school has resorted to rainwater harvesting for water.
Village resident Gopal Singh said, “People from nearby villages come to admit their children at the school. There are 96 children of the village who are enrolled here. Representatives of private schools also come to see and learn at the school. Local authorities should consult Shahid to implement the ‘green school’ model on a larger scale.”