Nature camp for school kids

Kalimpong, Jan. 2: A group of 37 schoolchildren from Darjeeling and Kalimpong today set up camp in Pudung village, 7km from here, for a fun-filled education trip.

The students, all aged between 13 and 17, will be housed in a farm owned by the Cluny Sisters. It is surrounded by terraced farmlands, not very far from the Relli river.

The camp on natural resources, organised by an NGO, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (Atree), is being held for the first time in the hills with money provided by the Union ministry of environment and forests.

“We will organise field trips to forests and nurseries, trekking and nature walks apart from education-related programmes,” said Reena Chhetri, the project coordinator of the camp.

When The Telegraph caught up with some of the children on their way to Pudung today, they seemed an excited lot.

“There is a lot we can learn about environment and conservation of nature,” said Ashita Lama, a Class XI student of Pranami Vidya Mandir here.

Atree has invited 20 resource persons to the camp to talk to the children on these issues. Ashita’s fellow camper Nisha Gurung of Sardaswari Girls’ High School, Darjeeling, said she hopes to pass on whatever she learns during the camp to her family and friends.

“As part of our environment studies programme, we are taken on trips to the zoo and botanical gardens, but this will be my first experience in trying to understand nature from close quarters,” added the Class X student.

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