STUDENT EMPOWERMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (SEED)
Conceived as the mouthpiece of India’s freedom movement, Mathrubhumi is one of the pioneer newspapers in Malayalam and one among top dailies in the country. The history of Mathrubhumi is synonymous with the history of India’s freedom movement in Kerala. Ever since its inception in 1923, Mathrubhumi has played a significant role in the socio-cultural and economic development of Kerala.
Environmental degradation is one of the major threats faced by the present generation. Natural resources have been passed on from generations and it is our duty to protect, preserve and transfer it to our future generations. Public awareness is a major tool in environmental protection and media has to play a major role in spreading awareness among the general public. Aware of the fact that future of the world is highly dependent on its children, prompted Mathrubhumi to embark in this novel initiative called SEED (Student Empowerment for Environmental Development) to create awareness among the younger generation to preserve and protect our mother nature. SEED is perhaps the largest green initiative in India at the school level by any newspaper organization for protecting and preserving Mother Nature through school children. SEED, which was launched in 5th June, 2009, has successfully completed nine years and is entering in to its tenth year. Schools carry out simple but effective steps in environment protection like Planting & Protection of saplings, Agricultural Activities, Bio-diversity conservation, Energy Conservation, Conservation of Water bodies, Cleanliness & protection of public health, Reduce, Reuse and Recyle Plastic waste and intervention in local area environmental issues through SEED Police and SEED reporters. Volunteers of Mathrubhumi act as mentors and trainers. Around 350 volunteers of Mathrubhumi periodically visit schools. Every year, Best performing schools are given Haritha Vidyalayam Awards and Cash prizes; a total of 610 prizes including Awards for Best Teacher Co-ordinators, Gems of SEED, Sreshta Haritha Vidyalayam Awards, Vishista Haritha Vidyalayam Award and Special Jury Awards.
· Tremendous behavioral changes in the student community.
· 7,053 active schools spread across all the 14 districts in Kerala.
· Target group – 3.8 million students.
· 8,34,874 saplings are being protected out of 16,46,698 planted in the last 11 years.
· SEED students have harvested 2,96,187 kgs of Paddy, 10,84,995 kgs of Vegetables and 5,62,824 kgs of Fruits in the last 11years.
· Students have collected 3,86,330 kgs of Plastic waste properly segregated and sent it for recycling.
· SEED Quiz- Largest Students’ Quiz on Environment – 5,067 participants.
· SEED schools have conducted 53,568 campaigns, 40,979 Rallies, 61,190 Poster exhibitions, 54,946 seminars and 6,678 Study tours as part of the SEED project throughout Kerala in the last 11 years.
· SEED schools have conserved 6.9 million litres of water in the last eleven years of the SEED project and remediated several water bodies saving innumerable quantities of water.
· SEED has also launched subsidiary initiatives like:
ü Love Plastic – a novel project in recycling plastic waste through school children launched by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on 19th February, 2011. Along with promoting the message of reducing, reusing, recycling and refusing plastic waste, the participating schools have till now collected 3,86,330 Kgs. of clean and dry plastic waste and sent it for recycling after properly segregating them.
ü Seasonwatch – a citizen science movement launched by Mathrubhumi SEED in association with National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore and Wipro Applying Thought in Schools, wherein students scientifically monitor trees to identify its leafing, flowering and fruiting pattern. The collected data will be used to understand the phenological pattern in our locality, across years and across seasonal cycles. 720 schools are actively involved in this project, wherein they have marked 3,64,848 observations of 63,749 trees observed by them in the year 2019-20.
ü Cradle for Turtle Campaign – The sea turtles are facing extinction due to the challenges created by humans in sea and shores. SEED brought together all the likeminded people in the sea shores of Kerala to protect the sea turtles by creating a friendly environment for them in the various hatching beaches in Kerala. The students with the help of local people collected turtle eggs and kept them safe from various threats and the hatched turtles were returned to the sea. As part of the initiatives SEED has collected 3695 turtle eggs and 1722 hatchlings were returned to the sea.
ü Naattu Maavin Chottil Project - An innovative project to preserve and protect the indigenous mango varieties of Kerala. In the last two years alone, SEED schools collected and distributed 43,721 mango saplings belonging to 103 different local varieties.
ü Nakshathra Vanam- SEED in association with the Vaidyaratnam Oushadhashala initiated a project to create awareness about plants and conservation of these plants through school gardens. As part of this initiative, 10 selected schools from each of the districts and one school from 4 metro cities of our country planted Nakshathravanam gardens in their premises. The best medicinal gardens will be awarded with prizes during the SEED Haritha Vidyalayam awards.
ü SEED Reporter – More than 3,000 students were trained on the nuances of journalism (both print and visual). Student SEED Reporters periodically send reports on local area environmental issues, which is published in our daily and aired through our television channel.
ü Kandal Kaakkaan Kuttikkoottam – To support the SEED students protecting mangroves in Kannur district, Mathrubhumi bought 116.50 cents of land situated at Cherukunnu village, Kannur district, the plot is being protected and will soon be recognized as a unique centre for Mangrove conservation.
ü Free the Tree Campaign 2014; A campaign to save roadside trees from ad boards - Nearly 2000 students from 159 active SEED schools from the 14 districts of the state of Kerala took a one hour walk on the 9th & 10th February 2014 along the main roads of their respective local areas. They took count of the number of advertisement boards, hoardings and banners kept on trees, whether nailed or tied or in any other form. They consolidated the data and submitted it to the local authorities which forced them to take action against this menace.
ü Haritham Oushadham Initiative - SEED in association with the State Medicinal Plant Board initiated this project for the conservation and protection of medicinal plants in the state. As part of this initiative schools maintain medicinal gardens in their premises.
ü Ente Naadu; Ente Thengu Competition 2014 – A literary competition conducted in association with Coconut Development Board to create awareness about the importance of Coconut tree in the socio-cultural spheres of Kerala. The competition was under two categories viz; A, Poetry writing and B, Short story / Experience writing. More than 4000 students from Upper Primary to the Higher Secondary Classes participated in the competition and it was a great success in creating awareness about the Kalpa Vriksha.
ü Ente Thengu – a unique project to mould, motivate & create passion among the youth about coconut farming in association with Coconut Development Board.
ü Little Frame Short film contest – in association with Builders Association of India was held during November, 2012 to January, 2013, wherein more than 3,000 students participated in the short film contest focussing on the theme – Responsible Living and Environment protection.
ü Keram Kakkan Kuttikkoottam - During May, 2013, SEED organised a Student Parliament for Protection & Conservation of Coconut Tree and the findings of the Student Parliament was presented to the Hon'ble Speaker, Legislative Assembly Kerala and the Hon'ble Chief Minister & Agriculture Minister of Kerala. It is heartening to note that some of the suggestions put forward by the kids are translating into action as the Government of Kerala has now announced tapping of Neera from Coconut Tree and also to constitute a Neera Board for promoting Neera tapping, which will go a long way in value adding for Coconut products as well as provide remunerative prices to the farming community.
· In the IUCN World Park Congress 2014 conducted at Sydney, SEED was recognized as a best environmental project model for inspiring the young generation towards environment protection.
Collaboration with Haritha Keralam Mission, Government of Kerala
We are proud to say that the Government of Kerala collaborated with SEED for its environmental education and protection initiative called Haritha Keralam project. A hand book for the Haritha Keralam Mission was prepared with the help of representatives of SEED and all the initiatives of Haritha Keralam project was conducted in association with SEED.
The Lilliputian steps of the children enabled SEED to win international accolades viz.,
o Corporate Social Crusader of the Year – Gold 2017 by International Advertising Association (IAA).
o Best Corporate Citizen Award 2016and 2019 – National Institute of Personnel Management (NIPM).
o Go Green Award – WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize 2014
o Corporate Social Crusader of the Year – Gold 2017 and 2014 by International Advertising Association (IAA).
o World Young Reader Prize (2011 & 2013) instituted by World Association of Newspapers – WAN-IFRA, Vienna.
o Olive Crown Awards instituted by the International Advertising Association (IAA).
o Vanamitra Award of the Government of Kerala
o Pepper Awards 2017 instituted by the Cochin Ad Club
o Maddys Awards 2017 instituted by the Madras Advertising Club
o Rajiv Gandhi Janma Sapthathi Puraskaram 2019
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