Observing the World Environment Day – A partnership event between 3M India and United Way of Chennai (UWC) – 23rd June 2011

Although the World Environment Day falls on June 4th 2011, generally the whole month (June) is utilized for observing and promoting the need for a better environment. Similar to the thoughts, 3M India of Bangalore had a pan India movement to observe the World Environment Day. The proposal for Chennai was discussed with the HR Department (Mr. Anand) and a concept note was drawn and agreed upon for an amount for Rs.40,000/- given to Untied Way of Chennai.

  • Concept: A government aided school was to be selected and the activities include, planting saplings, painting a concept that is related to the need for a better environment and a quiz competition related to the concepts of maintaining and sustaining a healthy environment.
  • Activities: Preparations for the activities was conducted as mentioned below.
    • Concept was discussed with the HR (MR. Anand), Mr. Venu’s name given as in charge from 3M India Chennai, email addresses of the 54 volunteers in Chennai was received and mails extended to each one of them explaining the concept.
    • Permission from the Dept. of School Education – Ms. Usha, NSS in charge was approached and a letter of request was given to conduct the program at the T.Nagar Government Boys High School, Venkarnarayana Road, T.Nagar with a school strength of only 960 students on the whole.
    • The school secretary (Mr.Subramanya Nayagam), Principal (Ms. R.Shyamala) and the Vice Principal (Ms. Rajeshwari ) were approached, concepts explained, ideas shared and they deputed three teachers to head the three major activities – planting, painting and quiz competition. (Tree planting – Mr. Viswanathan – NSS, Mr. karthikeyan – Drawing, Mr. Vijayasarathy – Science)
    • The preparations for the three activities include the purchasing of the plants at the Horticultural Department with the manure, digging of the pits by the students and the volunteers, etc. Five big saplings that would grow into trees were purchased with the advice that they should be trees that do not bear fruits, do not grow with low branches and trees that have brittle branches. These precautions were taken keeping the children in mind. A set of 300 good quality pens were bought for distributing the same to the students on a spread out basis for those who would water the plants on a daily basis. Tree guards were also purchased for securing the planted trees.
    • For the painting the drawing teacher planned a concept – trees taking in the CO2 given by the humans during respiration, is taken by the plants during photosynthesis and in turn gives out the O2 for the humans to breathe. Therefore there is a need for many trees around the environment. This concept was discussed with the students for painting on a big wall measuring 8’x15’ in front of the school premises so that everyone can view.
    • A set of questions on the need for healthy environment was planned and organized by the science teacher along with the 3M volunteer for the quiz competition. The questions were planned to be simple and logical that can be easily understood by the students. Three groups of five students in each group were suggested by the teacher for the competition. A revolving shield was bought by the 3M volunteers that can be given to the students on a yearly basis for the students who win the competition.
    • A set of chocolates were bought for all students of the school by the 3M India volunteers of the Chennai Chapter. Photographs were taken by UWC towards documentation, covering all activities.
  • Activities performed:
    • By the time we began the activities it was almost 11am since the volunteers had to get together. Most of them were on travel for work and a few on training. It was also mentioned that majority of them work from home and one of their major requirement to volunteer was to get together once in a way. They also seemed to have a club for themselves which is involved in social welfare activities. Therefore we had only 7 volunteers for a half day program.
    • Initially the team had a detailed discussion followed by individual self introductions with the Head mistress about the recent “samachir kalvi – equal education” and the related problems, about an appreciation to the school that was nearly 80 years old.
    • The team of volunteers divided themselves into the three activities based on their interests and spread themselves to be involved with the respective teachers and the students deployed by the head mistress.
    • All three activities were conducted simultaneously although for the planting of trees all volunteers got together.
    • The outline was drawn by the teacher and the fillings were done by the students and the volunteers. The final picture was completed by the master since there was no time for the day. The quiz was simultaneously conducted by one volunteer with the help of the science teacher, marked and selected the winners. The winners were given the rolling shield by the Secretary of the school in the midst of the volunteers. Out of the five plants, the first one was planted by the School Secretary followed by the rest been planted by the volunteers. They also took part jointly with the students to water the plants and close the pit. Tree guards were then kept around every plant.