Forest bathing corridor to help de-stress students
Constantly surrounded by concrete, gadgets and pressure, urban life is transforming at a staggering pace. But despite this apparent progress we have erected barriers between ourselves and nature, which often has the healing power to rejuvenate and refresh us.
To reduce carbon footprint and revitalize the environment and students, the Indian High School today hosted the first course of exploration of the Urban Forest developed in its premises. Known as the Forest Bathing corridor that spans an area of 30,000 sq ft, the 1km long green sanctuary is divided in 6 zones - Ghaf Avenue, Madhuban, Green Heart (h), Enchanted Forest, Pluck, and the Sophrology SenTer.
Forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku is the practice of taking a short, leisurely visit to a forest for health benefits. The school has planted 2,000 saplings - horizontally and vertically on its premises. These consist mainly of ghaf tand banyan trees that were picked for their benefits as well as cultural significance in the UAE and India.
Each zone has a meaning and significance especially created to soothe senses and relieve stress. A large variety of trees and plants have been planted to engage students, including learning about the species of trees, learning how to care for them, with scope for research. There is also a patch for students to grow their own vegetables. Pet therapy is also an integral part of the project. A meditation and Yoga Centre (called the Sophrology SenTer), a Mindfulness Centre and a Chinese Tea Area have also been embedded in the green arcade.
"We gather here to mark two occasions, the Year of Giving and second to mark India@70 that marks celebrations of India's 70th anniversary this year. Whenever we do something for the humanity and the world, we benefit too from it. UAE and India are both committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change that lays out commmitments for nations to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions and contain the impact of global warming. And today's event marks our baby steps towards to achieve the target set at the Paris Agreement - to save our planet and make it greener. This green corridor serves as IHS' contribution in giving back to nature," said Sunil Umrao Singh, chairman of IHS.
The event saw a troupe of Indian dancers and musicians from the school welcome the chief guests Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE's Minister for Climate Change and Environment, UAE; Dr Abdulla al Karam, chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General, KHDA and Vipul, Consul General of India to UAE, with traditional Indian dances. The minister and CG of India also then planted a couple of saplings on the school premises.
"The idea of reducing the carbon footprint and turning towards sustainable development and renewable energy is the need of the hour. IHS' Urban Forest is a step ahead in the direction," said CGI Vipul.
The Forest Bathing Corridor will continue to see addition of more plants and trees, and aims to grow into a little wild sanctuary eventually resembling a miniature forest.
Calling it a walkway to relieve stress, boost mindfulness and introducing wellness in students, Ashok , CEO, said : "The move aims at enhancing growth, good health, studies, of our future citizens, our children. Children are mostly indoors, sitting in AC rooms, or travelling in buses or stressing about studies, and we wanted to do something beneficial for them and for the environment and that's why the whole idea of forest bathing came along so they can relax, de-stress and connect with nature which heals you. This green sanctuary for the IHS family and the community - is our ode to the Year of Giving initiative and the Indian consulate's India@70 programmes, Dr. Ashok Kumar, CEO, HIS told Khaleej Times.