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and half-litre bottles. A location in the back part of the school- yard was marked and cleared.With the help of a village carpenter we purchased the wood needed for the greenhouse frame. We cut off the bottoms of the bottles and inserted them nose down on slender 6' wooden grape stakes. Each succes- sive bottle was driven down into the previous one as far as possible.When each stake was full of bottles, it was fastened


at each end to a wall or roof frame made of 2 x 2s. Each full grape stake was pressed against the adjoining stake, so as to reduce air flow through the greenhouse wall. (For construc- tion details, Google “plastic bottle greenhouses”.)


Raising shola saplings


Once the poly-house was constructed, we took the Eco Club students to the nearby Forest Department nursery for special hands-on training on how to raise shola saplings. One of the student’s mums worked in the nursery and helped them to learn the names of all the trees even though she was herself illiterate. Seeing the students’ enthusiasm, the Forest ranger provided us with 130 young saplings, all of which were derived from seed collected in the Lamb’s Rock forest. These saplings are now flourishing inside the poly-house. In addi- tion, we cut the tops off other plastic bottles and sowed shola tree seeds into a soil mixture in those bottles. We are now keeping these inside the poly-house too. Once all the saplings are ready for planting, they will go back to the same forest from which they were derived. This project created the opportunity for a student


research project to determine the germination rate and the growth rate of forest plant seedlings. The students are now comparing the growth rate of plants inside the poly-house with those grown outdoors in normal temperatures. Once our poly-house was built and full of shola forest


seedlings, we held an inauguration of the poly-house/refores- tation project. Officials from the state Education and Forest Departments and other government officials attended. Their participation and praise was very motivational for the students.


Vanya Orr is the Project Director & Mohan Kumar is the Education Manager for The Earth Trust in The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, in southern India. This is a follow-up to their Fall 2010 article entitled “Inspiring Eco-Clubs in South India”. They are grateful for the funding of this from Phil Crook and also David Pople of Friends of H.O.P.E. Contact: orrvanya@ gmail.com or visit www.earthtrustnilgiris.org.


Page 26 GREEN TEACHER 91


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