Service – Gardening

Growing up, I was always surrounded by beautiful plants because of my grandmother’s green thumb. Her garden always had gorgeous flowers and fruits and she made me very familiar with different types of plants and different knacks to grow them. Although I knew all of this in theory, I never actually practiced it which makes no sense. I took this CAS experience as an opportunity and motivator to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps and pick up gardening. With her help, I planted apples, chilies, roses, and mint over the span of 3 months. I still take care of them, but the first 3 months required a lot more attention than the plants do now. Also, gardening is an active step towards a sustainable lifestyle.

LO 3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience

Gardening is not an easy job, you need to give just the right amount of water, plant saplings during just the right season, and look after each plant the way it requires you to. I had to organize and plan ahead of time for which plants I could plant as per the weather and make sure I give the required amount of time to gardening. I am an organized person overall hence it wasn’t very difficult for me to plan this experience. One practice that worked best for me was including gardening in my routine and giving it a set time every day so that it becomes habitual. This made it easier for me to make sure I am looking after the plants. Taking initiative is an important life skill. This experience helped me understand that even though my grandmother always encouraged me to work in the garden with her, I never actually started until I took the initiative myself. This allowed me to recognize that others will not push me to do everything every time, instead, I have to ask and take action myself. Planning is just as important because it makes you a more organized and forward-looking person.  

LO 4: Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences

This activity required a lot of commitment because I had to give time every single day. I thought of the plants like kids who required regular nurturing and I had to make time every day to do so. Being persistent towards gardening wasn’t difficult because I was genuinely interested and the thought of getting rewards like fruits and flowers at the end of it was a great motivator. It is easy for me to commit to things that I’m interested in, otherwise, I tend to look for excuses to get out of work and end up not finishing what I started. As I mentioned, it wasn’t difficult for me to commit to this because I actually wanted to do it and it wasn’t just a CAS experience for me. Showing perseverance and commitment is one of the most important skills. It is crucial for one to be able to be persistent in whatever they pick up, this helps build challenging skills that have a longer learning curve. Commitment also teaches one to not give up easily and work through the difficulties of tasks. This experience definitely helped me polish these skills.

LO 6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance 

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges in the 21st century and it is very important that we recognize that. This experience deals with 2 SDGs, Climate Action and Life on Land. Consumer culture is destroying our planet and we are basically poisoning it ourselves. I acknowledge the fact that planting a few trees does not reverse the effects of climate change, but it is one step closer to it. Taking initiative is the only way to deal with this, we cannot expect someone else to take action or someone else to cut down on plastic or plant trees. Change starts with ourselves. Knowing and acting on this global issue makes me a more responsible and informed global citizen. As I am aware of the issue of climate change and how detrimental it is to our future, I’m always on the lookout for what I can do to fulfill my part towards reversing climate change. This CAS activity made me realize that climate change is a bigger problem than I thought it was and that we need to take more steps towards a sustainable lifestyle and future. 

LO 7: Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

One of the most prominent ethical issues regarding gardening is the use of fertilizers because while they are great for plants, they are harmful to the environment and the soil. Hence, even though chemical fertilizers make plants grow faster, my grandmother guided me to use natural fertilizers like cow dung to help the plants grow. This taught me that just planting trees is not good enough, we need to make sure that we are not harming the soil or the environment while trying to do our bit. Additionally, planting trees in itself is a very ethical and sustainable action that is beneficial for the planet’s future. 

Final Takeaways:

I practiced being a caring learner in this experience. I understood that it is crucial to give back to nature and acknowledge everything that it does for us. This is the bare minimum that we can do. This is just a start for me and I want to put more effort towards a sustainable lifestyle. This activity is a step towards benefiting the whole planet. By taking this initiative of gardening, I wanted to create a domino effect where other people around me would also start doing it to make a greater impact. This worked to some extent as I could get some of my neighbors and cousins to start gardening as well. As mentioned before, my learning in this activity makes me a more informed global citizen which helps me understand the gravity of other global issues that we encounter. This activity definitely brought a sense of accomplishment because I saw physical rewards in the form of fruits and flowers. This made all of the efforts worthwhile. From this experience, I learned that different plants take varying time and techniques to grow and also learned about how to naturally fertilize plants. I wish to continue this practice of planting trees and also take other steps such as reduction of plastic usage and waste management to fulfill the SDGs of climate action and life on land. 

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