Environment awareness is a strong focus area for the Essar Foundation and to further its cause, the Foundation from time to time organizes school awareness programs on environment and biodiversity, sensitizing kids towards global conservation efforts.
With the arrival on the monsoon in India, Essar Foundation, sought to make the best of the weather by organizing a unique volunteering activity for Essarites – to accompany 50 kids on a nature trail, that too in the bustling city of Mumbai.
The venue was the Maharashtra Nature Park – a man-made lush reserve created in one of the the most congested spaces of the city, Dharavi.
The event was planned for July 18, 2012, the day the city was gearing up to face what was to be the wettest day of the season. But that fact did nothing to dampen the spirits of the 12 volunteers and 50 students (aged between 10 and 12) from one of Mumbai's non-profit schools.
The children were excited to visit the park, and learn new things as were the volunteers. After an initial introduction activity, the group set off for close to a three-hour journey amidst dense grasslands and green forests.
The children were shown the biodiversity of the Western Ghats as they learned about the different species of birds and butterflies. For ease of comprehension and identification during the trail, an audio-visual slideshow was played to the group before the nature walk.
The children discovered the many varieties of mushroom with the help of the volunteers, learned the names of trees and flowers and also learned about vermi-compost and organic farming. The group also witnessed the beauty of the cannon-ball (Kailashpati) tree in full bloom.
The horticulture nursery also had on display many trees and herbs that provide remedies to common ailments.
All in all, it was a day well spent as both the children and volunteers returned with a lesson well learned and loads of happy memories.