Madhu Bhatnagar

Green Teacher Award (2005)

An artist in her own right, Madhu Bhatnagar believes a child’s mind is a canvas. As the Deputy Head of The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, she had charted out an Environment Education Policy long before the Supreme Court so instructed. As Head of Environment for her school since 2002, she has been working relentlessly to breathe the spirit of conservation into her students. Working with her wards, she has pioneered a whole host of campaigns including a rainwater harvesting system, zero garbage zones and grey water recycling. The Shri Ram School was among the first schools to implement rooftop rainwater harvesting in 1999. She lobbied with the Chief Minister of New Delhi and saw her practical plans shared with 1,800 MCD, government  and public schools, including some in Meerut and even distant Sikkim! Together with the Wildlife Trust of India she ran a very effective resistance movement among children against paint brushes using mongoose hair. Some of her kids actually tried using their own hair for brushes! She mentors the Junior Tiger Task Force, which she helped formulate. Her students have written letters to decision makers, raised funds for forest guards and have travelled to villages around the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. She works actively with others to put an end to the cruel practice of sloth bear and monkey dances in Delhi. She organised a Wildlife Film Festival at The Shri Ram Schools, which attracted over 2,000 students and parents. Her job, she says, is not to change the world, but to change the attitude of children to the world. By her reckoning the world can look after itself, if we stop harming it. She has dedicated her life to shaping young minds and hearts early so that they grow up to love, respect and protect nature.