Young Naturalists Camps Summer 2012

Our friends from the Gerry Martin project sent us an email about the exciting camps they are conducting this summer. Sign up for them as soon as possible!

Children are born naturalists, they are born with a sense of wonder and affinity for nature which they explore with all their senses, experiment and communicate their findings to others. 

However in today’s urban landscape, they lack the avenues to explore the natural world and to read the book of nature through their own direct experience. 

This summer, The Gerry Martin Project aims at providing children with the opportunity to do just that and a safe environment in which they can test their knowledge through experience. 
We will be running a series of “Young Naturalists Camps” at five different locations, each with its own learning objective ranging from Scrub Jungle Ecology to Reptile Biology. 

Rainin’ Reptiles! 

1. Rainforest Exploration at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station 

Agumbe is one of the wettest places on Earth. Located in a sleepy niche in the Western Ghats, the region is also a prime example of lowland rainforest. The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) was set up by Romulus Whitaker in 2005 primarily to study and conserve King Cobras in the region but today, it has evolved into a full-fledged research and conservation field station. 
At ARRS, children will experience the workings of a field station and will learn skills required for a young naturalist. They will develop skills in Canopy Access, Radio Telemetry, Outdoor Survival, Survey Techniques, Stream exploration, go on night surveys and much more. 
Dates: 2nd to 6th April and 16th to 20th April, 2012 
Age Bracket: 10 to 16 yrs. 

Budding Biologists! 
2. Nature Skills and field Biology at Ossie Martin’s Farm, Hunsur 

In today’s urban setup children rarely get the chance to interact with the natural world. Designed to act a launching pad for budding young naturalists and biologists, this workshop will address this lack of exposure and give children a structured learning experience that will allow them to build their own context and skills. This workshop emphasises awareness, appreciation and understanding of wildlife and the natural world. 
Here, we will learn how to build hides, machaans, approach animals with stealth and efficiency, observe aquatic life, setting pit falls and camera traps, some basics in Nature photography, outdoor survival, tree climbing and fish on the lake. 
Dates: 9th to 13th April, 2012 
Age Bracket: 9 to 16 yrs. 

Tigers and Tea estates! 
3. Large Game and Bird Ecology at Jungle Retreat 

Jungle Retreat is a resort, located on over thirty-five acres of reforested farmland adjoining the Mudumalai National Park. It is the perfect setting to help children learn the basics in wildlife tracking, birdwatching, outdoor survival and the like. There will also be activities like camera trapping, pug mark identification, wildlife safari, visit to the elephant camp, etc. It is a perfect workshop for children who are interested in nature and would like to experience real wilderness and wildlife of all kinds. 
Dates: 9th to 13th April, 2012 
Age Bracket: 11 to 17 yrs. 

Scales and Scutes! 

4. Reptile Biology at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) 

Since the ’70s, The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) has been at the forefront of reptile research and conservation across the country. MCBT is also one of the pioneers of captive husbandry and breeding of various reptile species from numerous species of crocodiles to king cobras and highly endangered turtles. 
At MCBT, we will focus on reptile biology the management of reptiles in captive conditions. We will also head out one morning with the legendary Irula Snake catchers, experiencing their incredible bush wisdom and skills. 
Children will get hands on experience by working with the staff and specialists at the Croc Bank learning Reptile Captive Management, Safety Protocols, Small Wildlife Tracking, Reptile Veterinary Care, Survey Techniques, Field Techniques in Crocodile Research, Snakebite First Aid Protocol, etc. 
Dates: 16th to 20th April, 2012 
Age Bracket: 12 to 19 yrs. 

Tracking and Bush Skills! 
5. Naturalist skills at Rom Whitaker’s 

A pioneer in research and conservation of herpetofauna for over four decades, Rom Whitaker has founded several conservation initiatives, including India’s first snake park, the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Andaman and Nicobar Environmental Team, Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Irula Snake Catchers’ Co-operative Society among many others. 
Rom never ceases to encourage people who are interested, and has now set up a camp site in his backyard allowing enthuiasts to experience the surrounding wild hills. The camp-site is on his farm situated in Chengelpet, South of Chennai. It borders the rocky hills and scrub jungle of the Vallam Reserve Forest and gets its fair share of wild visitors from the forest. 
Here we will run through the basics of field biology. Children will learn outdoor skills, camera trapping, biostatistics, reptile biology, bird watching and a lot more. They will also get a chance to shadow the Irula Snake catchers during one of the sessions. 
Dates: 23rd to 27th April, 2012 
Age Bracket: 12 to 19 yrs. 
These camps build on the children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore the natural world around them. Activities are structured so that it blends social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills to help foster learning. 
To register or to get more details, please get in touch with Conan on 9972068300 or email at conan(at)gerrymartin(dot)in.

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