World Bamboo Day is a day of celebration to increase the awareness of bamboo globally. Where bamboo grows naturally, bamboo has been a daily element, but its utilization has not always been sustainable due to exploitation. The World Bamboo Organization aims to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure – to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world, as well as promote traditional uses locally for community economic development. World Bamboo Day started from very humble beginnings in 2009, with a couple hundred people raising their arms and hearts for bamboo during the 8th World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok. Kamesh Salam successfully convinced the Royal Forest Department of Thailand and the Thai government to declare September 18 as World Bamboo Day.
Since then World Bamboo Day has been gathering energy and coalition, as the subsequent years gave birth to marvelous celebrations in various countries around the world. In 2012 World Bamboo Day was a huge success, bringing forth far-reaching organized celebrations, ceremonies, events, competitions, festivals, training seminars, and music shared by thousands of people!
We at Green School had many reasons to celebrate World bamboo Day. All the desks, chairs, buildings, student cubbies, lunch tables etc are all made with bamboo. We live in bamboo literally. To raise awareness and to celebrate this day my students extended their connection to the place by making play resources out of bamboo for the younger children in the school. My students knew that younger years did not have many resources in their class and interestingly neither did my students. But when I presented the idea of using the day to create something meaningful several children in my class opted for this project because we are reading buddies with Kindergarten and PreK. I realized that when children connect to a place they can take proactive measures in finding solutions to issues out of love and compassion for the place. This type of contextualized learning and creative participation in the school can provide opportunities for students to investigate and deepen their relationship to their environment. I term this as innovation in service learning.
The engagement of students and teachers participating in designing, and creating bamboo toys for early years is evident in the video below:
Following this we made our weekly visits to the kindergarten and PreK classroom, where grade 2 students sang a song and presented the toys to the younger students. There was much excitement in the air that day as grade 2, K & preK students played together with the new toys, building bridges and towers and many other things that were only limited by their imagination.
Mona Dalmia, Antioch University New England Educating For Sustainability MEd Program Alumna and an independent education consultant based in Pune, India. Contact Mona at: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her blog at: http://educateforsustainability.blogspot.com/