Kids Workshops

 

Project: Ecological Awareness Workshops for School Children

Motivation: Although the curriculum usually includes lessons on bio-diversity and conservation, the efficacy of information-transfer is limited primarily by the nature of the written-medium itself.  A hands-on, audio-visual experience is any day superior to the typically dry description found in most text-books. Providing this ensures that the message of conservation is sown deeper into the outlook of school-children, the future Citizens of India. Kids in villages can even contribute significantly by growing local trees in large numbers in and around their village.

Specific Aims:

  1. 1.To describe the usefulness of local biodiversity, the fragile nature of ecological balance and showing some of the success stories of BCRT and its impacts.

  2. 2.Get children to plant trees both in Anuganalu and in their own villages by providing them with saplings.

  3. 3.Encourage socialization and intermingling among children.

  4. 4.Enrich their knowledge on local flora and fauna, and promote exchange of biodiversity.


A Brief Description of the Workshop: This project is undertaken on an annual basis and was started in 2001. In a span of two months, about 1000 students in the age group 5-15 years from nearby villages, Sanenahalli, Maranahalli, Mallenahalli, Devagowdanahalli, Anuganalu, Ugane, Laxmipura, are invited to visit BCRT, as a part of a one-day workshop. They are encouraged to get saplings with them although BCRT also provides it to every attendee (specifically, teak, Pangamia, Jackfruit, Sandal, Hibiscus and other flowering plants). In the course of the workshop, they are described the importance of green-cover and forests, particularly on their role in enriching soil, preventing soil erosion, creating rainfall, recharging groundwater and thereby facilitating better yields in agriculture.  The specific example of a local ecosystem-Sigegudda, is taken to illustrate the consequences of human intervention, like agriculture, excessive groundwater usage, introduction of alien species, overgrazing, planting eucalyptus in large numbers, etc. The emphasis is also given to the potential for this region to actually improve the quality of life if it was protected and afforested. Jackfruit, Sandal, Pongamia, and Albizzia sp. among others are chosen as typical examples of local flora and their physical characteristics, nature of pollination, conditions necessary for them to thrive, their beneficial impact on insects and bird-numbers were described in order to underscore the intimate connectedness and dependence plants and animals have over each other. As another example, Eucalyptus is taken to illustrate the dangers of unplanned propagation of alien species. Its detrimental effect on ground water, local flora and fauna were mentioned.    


The kids are shown the efforts of BCRT at afforesting a barren-land within Anuganalu, conservation of medicinal plants, recharging ground water and propagating organic methods in agriculture. At the end of the day they are each handed a sapling that they would plant within BCRT after which they are again given plants to take home with instructions on when to sow and how to care for it as a sapling.

In March 2004, Ray of Hope Foundation Inc., USA sponsored the trip of about 70 high-school students of Kunigal Taluk, Tumkur District to BCRT. These students participated in the workshop along with school children from around Anuganalu. This also helped spread awareness and the activities of BCRT to other districts. In August, BCRT, in collaboration with KVK and Department of Education, Hassan, conducted a workshop on Environment and Conservation.

These workshops not only impart important, useful and practical knowledge to children, but the feedback indicates that a day in the open and amid greenery also has a relaxing effect on them.

Figures: Environment Day was celebrated by school students by planting tree saplings around BCRT’s campus (above). The school children listen to a talk give in open-air, about the importance of nature conservation (right).