Lockdown Diaries: the Sanctuary Cub edition

First published in Sanctuary Asia, Vol. 40 No. 9, September 2020

WHO: Vihaan, 7 and Mihika Fernandes, 5 WHERE: Newton, MA, U.S.A. 
SCHOOL: Williams Elementary School GRADE: 2 and Kindergarten respectively

We built a treehouse using three big, sturdy trees as support. It will soon also have a pulley, thermometer and a rain gauge. We painted the railings blue and the floor brown. We like hanging out in it because we can get a nice view of the Charles river in Newton. 

WHO: Ojas Sikka, 9 WHERE: New Delhi 
SCHOOL: Delhi Public School GRADE: 4

Growing plants has become one of my favourite hobbies. The lockdown made me miss my friends but I got to learn a lot of things as a young explorer. I learnt about gardening, environmental issues and much more, enhancing my knowledge by reading magazines like Sanctuary Cub and Sanctuary Asia. I also performed science experiments and took up arts and crafts projects. To share my knowledge as I learn, I have started my own YouTube channel and have uploaded around 53 videos on various topics. Check it out here: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCVmQJcWj-1czGP5OqthLSBg 

WHO: Om Umekar, 14 WHERE: Nagpur 
SCHOOL: School Of Scholars, Beltarodi GRADE: 9

I’ve learned to develop apps and created two of them. I also have experience in creating Android games. I’m going to soon start to learn coding. Nature is something that has prime importance in my life. I work for hours with my father in our garden, to maintain cleanliness and the proper growth of plants. I also take responsibility and care for my pets at my home.

WHO: Nidhi Mehta, 11 WHERE: Pune 
SCHOOL: SNBP International School GRADE: 6

I improved my table tennis skills, learned around 20-30 songs on my synthesizer, learned to make apps, began cooking, created artwork, and also painted pots to grow plants. We now grow cherry tomatoes, bitter  and ridge gourds, coriander and fenugreek in our mini terrace garden. Not only do we get tasty, organic vegetables, we love spending time together in our green balcony.

WHO: Siddharth Mahadevan Gupta, 9 WHERE: Mumbai 
SCHOOL: The Golden Spiral GRADE: 3

I learned how to make breakfast every morning! My school sends us nature assignments every week. I have grown palak microgreens, which I harvested and made into a delicious salad, and now I am growing mint and Malabar spinach. One of the highlights was spotting two hairy caterpillars that I shifted to a glass bottle and fed palak leaves. I added a pencil for them to climb so they wouldn’t be bored. Shockingly, one caterpillar ate the other! I learnt that this is common in nature. Watching the butterfly emerge from the pupa was amazing. I watched it for a while because it was getting stronger and its wings were still wet until it finally flew away.  

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