TAMIL NADU

Kids pick up tips on ecology conservation at nature camp

beyond wildest dreams:Participants at the nature camp organised in Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala.

beyond wildest dreams:Participants at the nature camp organised in Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala.  

Spools of thread linked kids playacting as dragon flies, eagles, and tigers at the nature camp in Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. Ecology was made practical as students from Tiruchi weaved a food web while discovering there are no losers or winners but every one counts in the game of sustaining ecological balance.

Organised by Science and Adventure Club, Tiruchi, and Youth for Conservation (YFC), the three-day camp at the tiger reserve was packed with similar activities in putting conservation and nature observation into action. Around 23 kids aged between 10 and 17 camped at Valakadavu near Thekkady, in a follow-up to YFC's attempts to rope in school students in building a committed and young green brigade. “The camp trained students in becoming backyard naturalists by accustoming them to observing things around them. We introduced first timers to fundamentals without getting too scientific,” said Ramanath Chandrasekhar, founder, YFC.

The session that kicked off on the first day had bird watching has its heart with a forest trek to spot birds followed by insightful sessions. “Participants not only learnt how to use a bird book to identify bird calls and differentiate birds by characteristics, but to quickly sketch birds they spotted for later identification with a bird book as reference,” said Vrinda Ramanan, with the Science and Adventure Club.

While a trek along the Periyar River turned out to be a practical session in spotting waterbirds, butterflies, and dragon flies that abound by the riverside, an intense trek up Vanammuttimalai has students trying to gauge elephants and gaurs from a distance.

Veterinarian Srijith Radhakrishnan talked about caring for animals in the wild and sought solutions for man-animal conflict. Mr.Ramanan spoke about biodiversity of forests complemented by presentations on Himalayas and Western ghats. Sanjayan Kumar, deputy director, forests, distributed certificates. Students were introduced to careers in conservation and were guided on how they could contribute from positions in various professions. Screening of documentaries, an ecological treasure hunt and quick tips on forest etiquette rounded off the nature encounter.

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