By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 25 Aug: Environment Education is the foundation to building strong leadership and independent observation skills in children. To foster a strong collaboration between State Forest and Education Departments, and NGOs working with Environment Education, the Head of the Forest Force, Rajiv Bhartari, organised an event to inaugurate the ‘Nature Vidya’ webportal. The website was inaugurated on 23 August by Minister of Environment & Forest Harak Singh Rawat.
When environment education is approached systematically, children learn to solve local problems, and develop independent thinking leading to careers that address local environment issues. Although eco-clubs have been formed in all the government schools of Uttarakhand, there is limited exposure of teachers and students to modern nature and environment education. A major limitation has been the lack of Hindi resources for teachers.
To address these lacunae, Nature Science Initiative (NSI) in collaboration with Janaki Devi Bajaj Gram Vikas Samsta (JBGVS) initiated a bilingual Hindi-English website that caters exclusively to Environment Education. The ‘Nature Vidya’ webportal offers a wide range of simple tools for nature educators to engage children outdoors, covering topics such as ecology, garbage, climate change, etc. This website not only helps prepare for any future school disruptions, but also makes available sophisticated tools in Hindi to grassroots teachers for the first time.
The Minister also released a Hindi book published by NSI about the peepal tree and its ecology, called ‘Rahasmayee Bagicha’, authored by Shruthi Rao. This book helps children learn important ecological concepts by observing fig trees like the Peepal. They learn about the value of friendships in nature to sustain life, and understand how fig trees like the Peepal are important ‘Keystone’ species.