THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Atmaj J Nair is in his element, as he gears up to sketch the August floods in his canvas. Ensconced under the rich canopy at the Children’s Park in Akkulam, Atmaj says all he wants to do when he grows up is to plant trees. Growing up, Atmaj would always listen to the tales his grandmother narrated which would delve mostly on nature. The stories and his own external readings on ecology have turned him into a champion of nature.
“My mother’s ancestral home has a lot of trees. Back at my home, we don’t have enough space to plant trees. So when I grow up, I want to plant trees. It is more of a passion,” he says. He is part of the growing tribe of eco-champions who are currently being initiated to nature and its unimaginable vistas at the summer camp ‘Nature on Wheels’.
The camp which began on April 7 is being jointly organised by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) and NGO Environmental Promotion and Research Council.
The students who shuffled in at the camp wax eloquently about nature and its need to preserve it with a conviction that might surprise many. For them, the camp till date has been an endearing experience as they understood more about ecology through the many sessions and journeys.
For instance, as they visited the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kappukad, they surprised people by voluntarily going on a cleaning spree and depositing the plastic waste at the ticket counter. The students have all turned into proponents of nature.
“I have been to other camps. But this is different. We get to know more about the ways to protect nature. Earlier, people would sit under the banyan tree and have talks. Banyan tree provides oxygen like no other tree and such talks were not just intellectually stimulating but also had health benefits. Now we don’t have that,” says Atmaj, as he emphasises on the need to preserve trees.
The camp is replete with a host of activities and is all about garnering knowledge about the traditions and nature, it being more of a journey to know the roots. “There are visits to the tribal hamlets, Balaramapuram Kaithari, river walks, photography camps in the forest and farmland visits among others,” said Sanjeev, one of the organisers of the camp.
Students of the age group 10 to 14 are part of the camp. As many as 25 students have joined the camp, which also includes 11 children from the Ockhi-affected village Pozhiyur.
For Class VIII student Karthik K, summer vacations were always about tours and badminton classes. But this vacation, he tuned into ecological knowledge, and Karthik says he is a happy person.
“At first, I thought it is going to be boring. But once the session began, all of them were held outdoors and we get to travel as well. So it is interesting,” says Karthik. The camp will be on till May 15. Admissions are open until April 25.