Naturalist and Conservationist Gerry Martin’s Summer workshops for children help them develop a close relationship with Nature

Even though we have walled ourselves from Nature, she plays an essential role for learning among children. Keeping this in mind, the Gerry Martin Project, an initiative of well-known Naturalist and Conservationist Gerry Martin, has organised a series of experiential learning workshops conducted not in a classroom, but in the lap of Nature.

“Children are intrinsically drawn towards Nature and animals. Unfortunately, they have no exposure to Nature due to lack of natural outdoor spaces,” says Gerry Martin in a telephonic interview. The workshops aim to help the children engage with Nature first hand. “The activities are real, not spectator based. We have run a lot of camps and workshops where children learn how to track wildlife, basically be field biologists while they are there. It’s a very hands-on approach,” adds Gerry.

While enjoying the learning process, Gerry says, children are also able to understand, grasp and apply concepts they have learnt only at a two-dimensional level in classrooms. “They learn a lot of things that will help them in academics. It’s quite an extension of their horizons. When they are camping in at a place, they’re in a completely new realm. They go on night walks, learn how to test the quality of water. We provide them with the skills, the expertise and the safety net. The biggest take home for the children is the eagerness to learn more.”

Gerry’s descriptions of the workshops and camps would make even adults want to be a part of it. “Our summer workshops are basically individual based. We have children digging through elephant dung, looking into a pond at night, tracking pug marks.”

The workshops, Gerry adds, focuses on a maximum of 20 children, from the age groups nine to 12, 12 to 15 and 14 to 17. “We will work in three different locations. We’ll be exploring Chikmagalur, an area of 1,200 acres which borders a wildlife reserve. We’ll go through wildlife conflict, study the canopy in which we’ll sample trees, follow pug marks, teach wilderness survival skills. This is for the age group between 12 and 15. In my father’s farm in Hunsur, near the banks of Devi Kere Lake, we’ll be doing bird watching, rope systems work with the lake as well. In Doddamarg in Maharashtra, it will be an actual expedition.”

The dates of the summer workshops are as follows: From April 7 to April 11 there will be Mountain Adventurers, Chikmagalur. From April 14 to April 18 there will be Wilderness Pioneers, Doddamarg. From April 21 to April 25 there will be Aquatic Explorers, Hunsur. From April 28 April to May 2 there will be Aquatic Explorers, Hunsur and from May 5 to May 9 there will be Wilderness Pioneers, Doddamarg. For details call 9972068300 or mail conan@gerrymartin.in.