Promoting Herbal Gardens in Schools - Monitoring of the Gardens

The Promoting Herbal Gardens in Schools programme was launched on
World Environment Day (5 June 2010)
 under the overall umbrella of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. It is organised jointly by ICIMOD and
National Trust for Nature Conservation
(NTNC) in close collaboration with the
Private and Boarding Schools' Organization of Nepal
(PABSON). There are three components: (i)
Herbal Profile with Recipe
 (ii)
Herbal Profiles
and (iii) Herbal Gardens.

The Herbal Profile awards will be presented on 23 September on National, Conservation Day and the Herbal Gardens awards on 10 December to mark International Mountain Day on 11 December.

Three monitoring visits are being made to the herbal gardens in July and August (completed) and a follow up in November. The reports for July and August are summarised below.

1st Monitoring Visit 15/16 July 2010

The first monitoring visits took place six weeks after the launch of the ’Promoting Herbal Gardens in Schools‘ programme on 15/16 July 2010. A team of judges assessed progress in the gardens of all 15 participating schools. The team comprised Dr Nirmal Bhattarai, Conservation and Research Specialist, and Ms Ram Kumari Shrestha, Landscape Consultant, from ICIMOD; and Mr. Ratna Timilsina and Mr. Manij Upadhyay from NTNC.

The herbal gardens had been well developed and maintained in an impressive manner in most of the schools. The gardens contained well-known medicinal plants from various sources, with informative labelling. The provision is some cases of plant-specific habitats was particularly noteworthy  (e.g., waterlogged habitat for bojho (Acorus calamus), moist habitat for pudina (Mentha spp.), and rocky habitat for pakhanbed (Bergenia ciliate).

The core team of students in each school had already become guides and were able to share relevant information on different herbs with their fellow students and outsiders. The judges felt that the interest shown by both the school authorities and the student communities is likely to give continuity to the herbal garden programme with constant enrichment and upgrading.

As Dr Nirmal Bhattarai remarked "I am happy to see that our objective to generate interest in students on various aspects of medicinal plants including their importance in health, the economy, and the environment is developing positively as the herbal gardens in the majority of the schools have already been institutionalised. We hope that the schools will continue maintaining, enriching and developing the herbal gardens on their premises as a focal site both for the school community and outsiders".

2nd Monitoring Visit 12/13 August 2010

The second mentoring visit took place one month later on 12/13 August 2010. All of the participating schools had made significant progress in terms of addition of medicinal plant species, labelling, maintenance, and overall management. Some schools had also recorded the growth behaviour of the plants. Students sought advice from the experts on how to control certain pests which were attacking some of the plants.

 

3rd Monitoring Visit 23/25 November 2010

The third and final monitoring visit took place on 23-25 November 2010. While the first two monitoring visits were focused more on providing technical inputs and suggestions, the third one was strictly an evaluation visit, and led to the final judging of the gardens in the schools. It was noted clearly that all schools now considered their herbal gardens as an integral part of their schools and attempted to make them attractive and informative in many ways. The students had provided a lot of effort in incorporating as many medicinal plants as they could with accompanying information. Apart from common medicinal plants of the Kathmandu valley, medicinal plants collected from distant places had also been incorporated in most of the gardens. On the whole, almost all herbal gardens were representative of a ‘typical herbal garden’.

 
‘Seeing is Believing’ – a visit to ICIMOD’s Knowledge Park at Godavari


A visit was organised to ICIMOD’s Knowledge Park at Godavari on 26 June for the participating schools. Forty-four people took part: three students and a teacher from each of 11 participating schools. The aim was to show the students proper methods for managing medicinal plants in a garden and to provide information on plants that could be suitable for their gardens. Mr. Samden Lama Sherpa, Dr. Nirmal Bhattarai, and Ms Ram Kumari Shrestha from ICIMOD showed the students and teachers various medicinal plants maintained in the herbal plant section of the site and highlighted their importance, usefulness, and significance. They also encouraged schools to disseminate medicinal plant-related information to others outside the school. The children and the teachers all enjoyed the visit and found it informative and useful.