The programme was the initiative of Karnataka Forest Department with the objective of sensitizing high school students on the importance of conserving forest and wildlife. A high school located on the periphery of forest is chosen and 2 days residential nature camp is conducted for the students in the forest area to create awareness of the environment and habitat of the wild. The camp was restricted to one school on 25 and 26th February 2016 at “Mystery Trails” nature camp in Gopinatham wildlife range. The forest department had requested ‘Vanodaya’ to conduct the programme in co-ordination with Cowdally Range forest officials.
Around 50 students and 6 teachers from Kuretti Hosur Government High School, Range Forest Officer Mr. Lokesh Murthy along with other forest department officials participated in the event. Mr. Jagadish Katkar from ‘Vanodaya’ co-ordniated and conducted the event.
The activities conducted during the Chinnara Vanadarshana nature camp is as under:
Power point presentation on Forest and Wildlife of Cauvery Wildlife sanctuary: In the presentation the geographical location, area, flora and fauna of Cauvery Wildlife sanctuary with photographs was shown to students. Question and answer session was conducted at the end of the presentation.
Kannada version of Wildlife documentaries like “The Truth about Tigers” and “Nagarhole: Tales from an Indian Jungle” was screened to the students. The teachers and Students were overjoyed watching huge number of wild animals vis-à-vis their relationship with the eco-system in a well protected forest. It was stressed in the end that with good protection measures and support from local people even Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary can be transformed into a flourishing wildlife habitat like Nagarhole National park in 10 years. The threats to forest and wildlife from elements like poaching, timber extraction, forest fire and cattle grazing were also discussed.
Further presentation also covered the basic needs of wildlife animals like Leopard, Tiger, Sloth bear and Elephants in terms of home range/territory, safety, food and water requirements in an interactive session. This session was concluded by giving a brief introduction on “The Wildlife Protection Act 1972” and penalties for involving in forest and wildlife crimes.
Bird watching: Bird watching activity was conducted around the Gopinatham lake and forest area. Students learned the basics about identification and characters of birds and usage of equipment's like Binoculars and bird guide book. Students prepared a check list of birds identified during this session.
Nature walk in the forest area: To get a practical exposure, students were taken into the forest on a nature walk early in the morning. Students were shown the track marks and pellets of Wild pig and spotted deer, trees were identified, and also some birds. Students learned the ecological importance of insects like honey bees in pollination and termites in decomposition of dead wood. Students witnessed the ill effects of forest fire and importance of trees in prevention of soil erosion.
Quiz and Essay competition on Importance of conserving Cauvery Wildlife sanctuary: The two days nature camp was concluded by conducting Quiz and Essay competition to students, on the importance of conserving Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Prizes were distributed to winners and feedback on nature camp was collected from students and teachers. Overall the feedback from students and teachers on Chinnara Vanadarshana nature camp was positive and encouraging.