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How might we reimagine nature camps?

Helping children connect with nature in their locality is a gateway to build empathy in them towards the natural world. One of aims of the Environment education Awareness and Training scheme (EEAT) of the Indian Government is to provide students an opportunity to learn about the importance of their area, natural resources and ecosystem services through activities such as nature camps. While I don’t agree to see nature as a mere natural resource, there is actually a programme called the National Nature Camping Programme (NNCP). Sadly, the guidelines for implementing this seem to be developed without understanding the fragility of nature and the approaches that are needed to create an immersive learning experience for students. For example, 50 students per camp, protected areas as venues, etc. To top this all, the NNCP targets 25,000 students a year while about 260 million students go to school in India! This needs to change and community driven nature walks are a great place to begin.

Our Fellows spent quality time with Gerry learning to observe nature, finding stories in them and using experiential learning as a platform to design sessions for children in the schools they will be working.Thanks a ton Gerry for sharing your years of experience with our Earth Ambassadors. We can’t wait to see them implement their learnings from you in their localities.

Fact Source: Guidelines for Environment Education awareness and training scheme document 2017-20 by MoEF&CC.

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