From Editor’s Desk

WhatsApp Image 2023-07-31 at 14.03.59

- Novanita Sharma

The summer of 2023 witnessed a new wave of thoughts and initiatives to ignite our young minds through the second phase of Ahum Basudham Krite Mangaljanak school program which began with great enthusiasm with a series of special summer camps organised in different districts of Assam. It connected more than two hundred school students in Dibrugarh, Goalpara, and Dhemaji districts in July 2023. This special summer camp opened a new window for the students to connect with nature and find ways to embrace a positive approach towards life as responsible individuals and dutiful citizens of the country. The participants had the chance to interact and learn from resource persons representing various fields of work belonging to a wide age group from young adults to retired professionals who relate to nature in some kind of harmonious relationship and depict it in their work and life. This provided the young students an opportunity to grasp the possibility of becoming adults who take active role in ensuring a safe future for the planet in whatever work/career they chose later. These three summer camps involved the students in a wide range of modules like- Biodiversity conservation & effective communication methods, Flora & Fauna, Importance on gardening & agriculture, Mass communication with focus on Radio, Community health, Sustainable use of plastic and collective responsibility towards environment, Herpetofauna, Importance of book reading & education, Health & hygiene, Photography session with focus on nature photography, sessions on Art as a medium of nature appreciation, Personality development, Gratitude towards Nature, a session dedicated to Poba rainforest, Introduction to Nature writings literature & book reading and many more. Nature’s Beckon set a new precedent with this unique summer camps in Assam. The trend of summer camps began its journey with the first summer camps introduced in North America in 1880s with an objective to re-establish bonding of urban children with Nature. This was driven by the Victorian era conviction about the benefits gained by human beings through time spent in active interactions with the natural world. Summer camps developed to cater diverse requirements of school students, using the period of annual summer vacation for a fruitful engagement outside their homes. There are many kinds of summer camps- nature camps, remedial camp, art & music camp, language camp, computer & robotics camp, sports camp, religious camp, etc.  Summer camp has been utilized to holistically educate and motivate the young minds of school students very efficiently in the western world, it has become an effective auxiliary method of modern education. In India the trend of summer camps has mushroomed, parents are often flooded with many offers to engage their children during the summer vacations. The number of summer camps shows rapid growth with the rise of nuclear families in urban India. But these camps are more recreational without any distinct motive or educational value. In such scenario Nature’s Beckon’s special summer camps in 2023 came as a new direction for subsidiary education methods in Assam. These camps facilitated the knowledge, professional experience and bonding with Nature found in each resource person to channelise the philosophy of nature conservation in the participants. The four days of each summer camp incorporated the essence of human bonding with nature through the spark of Ahum Basudham Krite Mangaljanak amongst the students. Each student found a rare window for personal expression, exploration, and knowing themselves through the diverse modules of these camps. Various games, interactions, field visits to forest areas gave these students an opportunity to learn about the importance of biodiversity conservation. The participants at Dibrugarh and Dhemaji took part in special sessions about Radio conducted by All India Radio-Dibrugarh. All participants of this series of summer camps got an exposure to train in basic communication skills for effective public speaking. Nature’s Beckon provided a completely new summer camp experience to these students in Assam. Perhaps for the first time, summer camp found a purposeful ground in Assam. These two hundred plus students learned a new way of life, a new approach to look at Human-Nature relationship with a sense of gratitude and commitment to contribute towards preservation of Nature through their responsible actions in future. Nature’s Beckon effectively incorporated the unique mind-movement of Ahum Basudham Krite Mangalajanak program for biodiversity conservation to address the gaps in our existing educational models. Our present organised education models do not allow our children to retain the goodness which comes naturally to every human child, it replaces the warm heartedness of children with cold heartless competitiveness. It fails to bond our children with Nature, instead it uproots the child from their inborne connection with soil, rain, clouds, trees, and the natural world.  Everything is designed to teach our children to exploit the natural resources for their benefit, no one tells them to give in return. This has caused a lot of damage to the mental wellbeing of human societies, and as an aftermath devastation to the natural world. Deterrence to this madness is important, and India with its base of ancient knowledge and huge population is ideal ground for this deterrence to grow and flourish. Ahum Basudham Krite Mangaljanak program envisages to create a pool of future nature-conservation leaders in Assam who will be guided by their motivation rooted in love for Nature, and are capable of leading India’s environment movement with awakened minds and proper knowledge about the natural world as well as about the rich contributions of Indian civilization to nature conservation. This summer camps thus played a crucial role in propelling this mind movement for biodiversity conservation and future environment leadership of India on a cheerful march, giving a lead for rest of the country to follow.