IUCN Thailand programme organizes the Nature Education Camp for students at Kaeng Krachan National Park
The IUCN Thailand programme in collaboration with the Conference of Earth Environment from Akita (CEEA) organized a 3-day 'Nature Education Camp' for students in Thailand from 31st October – 1st November 2022 at Bang Krang Camp, Kaeng Krachan National Park (KKFC); a World Heritage Site in Thailand’s Phetchaburi province.
With support from the Toyota Environmental Activities, the project aims to improve students’ knowledge and understanding about the environment, nature and biodiversity, while offering hands-on experience through field visits. A total of 31 students and 11 teachers from 6 local schools in Thailand were invited to participate in the activities that were organized by biologists from the Nature Plern Club.
Majority of the students that participated in the educational camp were from ethnic groups and some lived in the forests. These students possessed unique knowledge about the forests and wildlife conservation methods, which could be enhanced further and integrated with their indigenous worldview. While other students were from the mainstream educational system and it was their first-time experiencing wildlife and forests. Therefore, the camp offered a cooperative and diverse learning environment for students living in different areas.
The students participated in a range of activities, including the water detective activity, where they were asked to look for creatures in the stream and then the biologists explained how they were essential to the ecosystem. The students also took part in morning bird watching to learn about the biodiversity of birds and how they interact with the forest ecosystem.
Miss Wanwika Nochai, a Ban Nam Sap School teacher, expressed that children thoroughly enjoyed the activities outside the classroom and even shared their knowledge and experiences with students from other schools because they found similarities in the what they learned during the camp and their life at home. The teachers from all 6 schools and the park rangers also agreed that this activity is replicable and adaptive to the local context in other schools in the province.
Professor Yochitaka Kumagai, the representative from the Conference of Earth Environment from Akita (CEEA) expressed his sincere gratitude to all the schools and national park offices involved in this project. He also highlighted the important role of teachers in facilitating the learning of the next generation and encouraged them to teach their students about the coexistence of sustainable ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation.
"We call it 'Lii' in Karen language; we have them at home, but they are hunted sometimes" - a student shared their knowledge of animals in their local language, while staring at a giant black squirrel sleeping peacefully on a high tree limb. It is an endangered species according to the IUCN Red List.
The Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (KKFC) consists of Kaeng Krachan National Park, Kui Buri National Park, Thai Prachan National Park and Mae Nam Pachi Wildlife Sanctuary. These are critical habitats for national and global ecosystems, the environment and biological diversity. These protected areas are the watershed forest, and its ecosystem services benefit the ethnic groups whose livelihoods heavily rely on natural resources and support their cultural practices. Therefore, the ecosystem of KKFC will be a great educational facility for the local communities as a source for learning and building awareness of local youths, who will become a key force in conserving, managing, restoring and sustainably using natural resources and ecosystem services in the future.
The schools that participated in the camp were A.H. Link School under the patronage of Princess Srinagarindra Boromarajonani, Ban Phu Khem School, Ban Pong Luek Border Patrol Police School, Naresuan Palau Border Patrol Police School, Insee Volunteer Border Patrol Police Learning Center (Ban Pakeyaw) and Ban Nam Sap School.
For more information, please contact IUCN Thailand programme:
Supranee Kamponsun (Head of Thailand Programme); firstname.lastname@example.org
Pratheep Mekatitam (Protected Area Programme Officer); email@example.com