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Aaranyak connects kids to their homestead gardens in Manas

Programme sensitised children about biodiversity with special reference to their homestead gardens by fostering their critical observation skills, discussions

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, April 17: Aaranyak, a biodiversity conservation organisation, has organised a two-day awareness and education programme for school children on homestead gardens at Karebari, Bhuyanpara Range of the Manas National Park in the state.

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The programme was organised recently as part of the education and capacity building programme titled ‘Connecting Children to their Homestead Gardens’, conceptualised by the Natural Resource Management Programme of Aaranyak for children of age groups 15 to 17 years.

The programme aims to sensitise the children about biodiversity with special reference to their homestead gardens by fostering their critical observation skills and by encouraging them to undertake discussions with their parents and grandparents on the rich diversity their homestead gardens offer.

Through the programme, a pre-knowledge assessment would be conducted on the knowledge of the students on biodiversity and observation, identification, documentation and analytical abilities of rare and locally threatened floral species, followed by their restoration in homestead gardens.

The programme was organised at the Karebari Jwngsar Bijab Khuli Afad (the village library) and was attended by 31 children and their mothers and members of the village youth group.

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During the activity sessions, students were divided into two groups and were asked to list out the plants, animals and edibles they regularly observe in their home gardens, while mentioning their social and cultural importance. Students below the age of seven years were asked to draw using natural colours under the supervision of their mothers.

The students were divided into four groups and each group was instructed to undertake surveys in one homestead garden in the village and record the flora and fauna in the garden. All the groups completed their tasks enthusiastically within the stipulated time.

Aaranyak’s trained volunteers and expert field team comprising of Saikhong Basumatary, Bijay Basumatary, BarnaliChakraborty, Swapan Kumar Das and Stephen Basumatary coordinated the programme.

The programme was organised with support from the IUCN-KfW project ‘Securing population of tigers, habitats and biological corridors in Assam, India’. The sensitisation programme marked the commencement of a series of ten similar programmes organised across 10 selected villages around the Manas Tiger Reserve.

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