Wildlife SOS in collaboration with St. Pauls International Academy, Sonwar, Srinagar organized a 3 days nature study camp from 28th to 30th August 2015 at Aru wildlife sanctuary. About 27 girls from grade 4th to 10th participated in the nature camp which was set at the beautiful picturesque Heart of the mountains of Lidder forest division. The students were accompanied by their principal Ms. Gracy Paljour , Tahir Gazanfar, Umer Nabi, Showkat from Wildlife SOS and other supporting staff.
The main idea of the camp was to generate awareness and develop nature stalwartness among girls of the valley. All the participants were accommodated in eco friendly tents. The first thing taught to the participants on reaching the camp site was how to behave in the fragile environment and how it is better to stay in temporary accommodation than staying in concrete hotels whose mushrooming has already vandalized the sacred beauty of the valley. The students were briefed about the importance of such camps. A beginning was made by engaging students in a recreational activity, in which all students heartily participated. The activity revolved around the concept of an ecosystem, its compositions, importance of various trophic levels, concepts of food chains and food web. The activity gave them food for thought about depleting resources in the forests which often lead to the imbalances in the food chain and food web and due to which various animals come out of forests seeking food, resulting in Man-Wild animal conflicts. In the later part of the day, the students were taken on a refreshing walk along the magnificent river Lidder.
The next day students had a small trek and a nature walk through the forests to understand the diversity of plants, animals and birds around them. The concepts of biotic and abiotic interactions and anthropogenic interferences were made apparent. The students were practically demonstrated what was discussed with them in the earlier interactive session about floral and faunal diversity. During the evening an AV presentation was given to the students in the open air regarding the wildlife wealth of the valley and the main reasons for the man wild animal conflict after which the activity of watching the night sky was carried out and various summer constellations were shown to the students. Since most of the constellations are named after animals like little bear, big bear, lion, dragon, swan, we used that to help the children understand the importance of animals.
On the third day students visited Pahalgam bear rescue facility and got to know the work Wildlife SOS is doing in the state for mitigating of man-animal conflict and rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned bear cubs. Finally the kids were dropped home with the hope of putting together a new generation of people to spread the message of conservation in the society.