Campers from Blue Mountain School, Ooty, at the campfire with Major yA-mA
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE CAMP

 Program Outline
 

At  National Environment Science Camp 2015-16, we shall carry out Four Investigations; one on each Day of Camp. Beginning on the first day with ‘Mapping the Elements’;
The subsequent investigations will be about the influence of these Elements on birds and mammals.
And finally, we investigate the interaction of humans (Human Element) and other Life Forms. 

DAY 1: MAPPING THE ELEMENTS OF NATURE
DAY 2: HOW MAMMALS SURVIVE THE ELEMENTS
DAY 3: DO BIRDS PROCEED ON WINTER VACATIONS!
DAY 4: LIFE FORMS VERSUS THE HUMAN ELEMENT


DAY 1: MAPPING THE ELEMENTS OF NATURE

 A first hand experience of the different Elements of Nature; what are these Elements and how they can be studied in detail. These investigations will be carried out through the Eye-Witness observation of natural phenomenon; measuring and documenting their characteristic features; and finally drawing inferences about their effect on various life-forms and man himself.


DAY 2: HOW MAMMALS SURVIVE THE ELEMENTS

We are all familiar with the crowing of the rooster at dawn.
This universally recognized fact is a simple but apt illustration of the interaction between Elements of Nature (in this case the sun) and Life (the rooster). The moment of dawn obviously triggers some kind of reaction in the rooster that makes it crow.

Likewise, there are innumerable ‘Encounters’ between the Elements and Life at Dudhwa.
On the second day of NEVSC, the Campers move deep inside the forest to understand HOW MAMMALS SURVIVE THE ELEMENTS. While the Elements are absolutely indispensable in the scheme of Nature and provide sustenance to life itself, often the Elements unleash a terrible fury.
For example, with the onset of summer season, when the wetlands dry and rivers turn into a trickle, the shortage of water creates a critical situation for the wildlife. On the other hand, very recently, when it rained heavily, River Sharda threatened the very existence of the Swamp deer. A prolonged winter spell can ruin the availability of food; herbivores perforce raid farms and create an inadvertent human-animal conflict. March, though, springtime is marked by winds that huff and puff violently uprooting trees and thus damaging the habitat of wildlife.
What happens to the wildlife then?
In such circumstances what do the mammals do? Are they mute victims to the capricious Elements of Nature or do they respond with intelligent counter strategies?
This is our SECOND INVESTIGATION.


DAY 3: DO BIRDS PROCEED ON WINTER VACATIONS!

Members of the Karavan team often wonder whether the most scenic of the places in the world lies in Dudhwa itself; and that place is surely Jhadi Tal, just about 5 kms from our Camp.
It could be prejudiced opinion, of course, but there is a cogent reason for holding such an idea. Apart from the striking beauty of the place, one can behold a wonderful variety of wildlife: migratory and residential waterfowl, birds of prey, swamp deer, crocodiles and otters. The splendid sighting of wildlife makes Jhadi Tal an unrivalled place. World travelers are free to dispute our claim but only after having visited this place.
At NEVSC, however, we do not intend to visit Jhadi Tal for just its scenic beauty but also to solve mystery that has always befuddled Naturalists and Scientists: the Phenomenon of Migration.
Every year, during the winters, thousands of birds like coots, red crested pochards, gadwals, shovellers and pintails undertake an arduous flight from the far off Northern lands of Central Asia, Siberia and Tibet to reach Jhadi Tal. They are here for around four months, it might seem for their winter vacation. But that is just the proverbial, tip of the ice-berg!
What this fascinating journey is all about is the investigation on the third day of NEVSC!


DAY 4: LIFE FORMS VERSUS THE HUMAN ELEMENT

Life forms devise interesting strategies that help them face the Elements of Nature.
But for the past 200 years, there is a ruthless element that threatens the very existence of Life on Earth: HUMAN ELEMENT. In the encounter with this element, it appears that Life is doomed and humans alone will triumph. But is it really that way?

Humans and other life forms are totally interdependent. But man in his arrogance and ignorance dismisses this reality.
For example, it has been found that worldwide use of insecticides has exterminated large population of bees that help in pollination of 70 % of our grains. One can imagine how catastrophic it would be if the production of food crops suddenly collapses. What do you humans eat then? Unfortunately, humans fail or refuse to grasp this chilling reality.

 “Only when the last tree has died; and the last river been poisoned; and the last fish been caught; will we realize, we cannot eat money”.

Here at Dudhwa, apart from harming micro-organisms and insects, the Human Element seems to be paranoid of harmless life forms like snakes, monitor lizards and even tortoises. The moment they are even seen, “Let’s kill them!” seems to be the conditioned response. While some animals, like deer, blue-bulls and wild boars, do cause limited harm to crops; but that is only because their natural habitat has been encroached upon by humans. Others cause no harm at all. In fact by eliminating rodent like pests, they are beneficial for humans.
On the final day of NEVSC, we shall investigate in detail this terrible Encounter between Life forms and Humans and also make a sincere effort to work out some kind of solution.


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