Over the last half-century we have acquired an in-depth understanding of life processes. This is permitting us to design novel life forms, injecting bacterial genes into cotton plants, or getting goats to produce milk containing molecules of spider silk. India, too, is part of this revolution and, Biotechnology is beginning to pick up in our country. Yet, in the midst of all these developments, we remain a biomass-based civilization. Many Indians continue to lead lives as ecosystem people, tied closely to the resources of their environment to fulfill many of their requirements. At the same time our country’s ecological resource base is under threat, with extensive destruction of natural habitats, widespread degradation of agro-ecosystems and a growing burden of air and water pollution. Simultaneously, India’s knowledge base of uses of biodiversity is also being eroded, with the younger generation becoming increasingly alienated from the natural world. The best way of making people aware of science is to get them to practice it. For taking the practice of science right down to the grass-roots Forest Watch engages people in the preparation of a biodiversity register through a massive program of field observations. We are actively involved in the preparation of a biodiversity register of the Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad district from the year 2018 onwards. A few villages in Edavaka Panchayath are already covered and the project is ongoing.
Field study for students
For students, field studies create opportunities for first-hand experiences that encourage critical thinking, long-term retention, transfer potential, positive attitudes towards science, appreciation for nature, and increased scientific curiosity. Cognitive development and motivation are also enhanced when students are active participants in the planning of the field study and in the activity itself. These benefits are applicable to both secondary and elementary students. Teachers also benefit from field studies. The excursions add new dimensions to education through “teachable moments” that seldom occur in the classroom. Field work provides our students with more time to focus, think and learn about new ideas as they present themselves and to witness specific examples in the context of their interdisciplinary realities. Often more than the four walls of a classroom, the outdoor classroom is more enjoyable, beautiful, inspiring, stimulating and relaxing, creating an optimal learning environment. Students will learn, retaining the concepts, examples, principals, and processes involved and coming away with a more in-depth understanding of what they have seen and experienced. Field classes demonstrate and utilize the benefits of teamwork combined with individualized learning. School and college students are taken on nature trails along river banks, paddy fields sacred groves, forest fragments, cultivations etc to familiarize them with the characteristic fauna of different habitats and their role in the ecosystem. This will in turn motivate them to protect such fauna.
According to popular surveys, only about 10 percent of children spend time outdoors every day. They aren’t interested; they lack access and are uncomfortable outside. In the meantime, they’re growing more and more attached to life in cyberspace and further detached from the natural world. Camp provides kids the perfect opportunity to see what they’ve been missing in the great outdoors. Camp is a community away from home and school where kids learn to work with each other and adult mentors build relationships and manage conflict. They learn to navigate through group dynamics, to keep one another happy, to be sensitive and support a friend who is sad. These skills transfer and build adults with strong character and leadership. Obesity in children has doubled, and in teens has quadrupled, in the last 30 years. Thanks to the many activities camp offers, participants stay busy and physically active. They learn that they are each an integral part of the camp community where they can feel a sense of acceptance and belonging. Our camps offer cooking and gardening tracks where kids learn how to prepare nutritious meals. Forest Watch organizes nature camps of short durations for school and college level students and the youth and working professionals with nominal charges.
It provides ample opportunities for exploration by developing lifelong relationships with the people you share your experiences with. It also develops a connectedness to nature, and also learning to appreciate what the great outdoors has to offer. Through this one learns to take positive risks. It increases one’s physical ability, which in turn, increases the health benefits. Participants will acquire ability to learn safe outdoor living skills, such as trip planning, tough terrain travel, and minimum impact camping. You will also gain a sense of self-confidence, self-reliance, and independence. Forest Watch organizes adventure treks to various mountains like Banasuran, Chembra peak, 900 kandi, Brahmagiri, Edakkal caves and other local mountains, based on accessibility and availability of permission by the concerned authority.
“Your network is your net worth”. Internships offer students great networking opportunities. Career aspirations may change when you’re faced with the true realities of a role. Internships can therefore be used as a ‘try before you buy’ option, before you embark on a career and confirm if this is what you want to do in the long term. Internship can also give you a real insight into the world of work, allowing you to build on the theory you learned at university and helping you to gain practical skills that will help strengthen your CV and make you more employable. Internships offer you the chance to test your skills in real-life situations. You’ll meet colleagues and team members. You can make life-long connections that can help you find positions, meet clients, or even make recommendations. Internships of various durations –a week to as long as 12 months are offered at Forest Watch. Students pursuing their graduate, post graduate studies in colleges and Universities will be provided assistance to stay and conduct field studies in the Western Ghats. They can work on topics like biodiversity, animal behaviour, Ornithology, Herpatology, Amphibian studies etc.
Short term stay
Organic farming is based on agro-ecological principles and is organized to mimic nature’s own ecological systems as much as possible. By practicing organic farming biological diversity increases in the soil, in plant communities, and among insects and birds. One who practices this mode of agriculture is a conductor of a huge orchestra of living organisms. Forest Watch is keen to provide opportunities for students and general public to learn about sustainable agriculture on our premises. Food is abundant, ubiquitous; it fills the refrigerator and the cupboards at home and in the store. It is everywhere, if you have money to pay for it, but where does it come from? How does it get to the table, to the store? The organic farming process creates an arena where ecology can be taught and learned through direct observation and experience. Tasks such as taking in a harvest from the field or garden, cooking food from the products on the farm are often immediately meaningful. From our experience, if the tasks are meaningful and the learner can contribute, then the urge to learn and excel also benefits the theoretical work in the classroom People who are interested in farming practices in purely organic style can get hands on field exposure to ploughing the paddy field, tilling land, planting crops, harvesting and processing of paddy etc.
Making cycling a part of one’s life will do some great things for your bodies and give a sense of wellbeing. Riding a cycle fast, or on hills, is the kind of vigorous physical activity of which so many of us don’t get enough. Cycling will build muscle. The more muscle mass you build, the easier it is to burn fat. Cycling triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain, and increased health and fitness brought by regular cycling contributes to a generally happier outlook on life. Cycling can also open up a new social dimension in your life. It’s an excellent way to improve existing relationships and form new ones. We provide assistance for cycling in serene terrains enjoying the beauty of Western Ghats.
Eco-spirituality is a manifestation of the spiritual connection between human beings and the environment. It incorporates an intuitive and embodied awareness of all life and engages a relational view of person to planet, inner to outer land-scape, and soul to soil. Eco-spirituality is based in a fundamental belief in the sacredness of nature, Earth and the universe. Traditional eco-spirituality is as old as humanity and has been practiced by indigenous peoples since the beginning. From the eco-spiritual perspective, Ultimate Reality is not just the source of creation it is very much also a part of creation; a part with which we can interact on a daily basis through our senses. There is ample opportunity at Forest Watch to meditate in the tranquility of secluded natural settings.
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