SAIIER 2016:Auroville Nature Camp

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[[SAIIER 2016:Auroville Theatre Group
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Auroville Nature Camp


Introduction

Auroville Nature Camp aspires to be one of the manifestations of “a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.” This educational activity brings together the children of Auroville and those of its surrounding villages for a collective experience of nature in the forest of Kavunji near Kodaikanal. Each camp offers a range of experiences designed to introduce the children to the flora and fauna of the area, to increase their environmental awareness, to awaken the spirit of adventure through treks and climbs, and to deepen their relation to and appreciation of nature. In the simple rustic camp setting children learn to live together in a group and to care for each other and the environment. Everyone, including students, teachers and other adults, works together to create the camp and to maintain a harmonious atmosphere. In short, Auroville Nature Camp aims to foster increased communication, cooperation, and connection amongst a diverse group of students and adults while simultaneously connecting with and learning about the environment.

Activities of the year

Throughout the month of May 2015, three Nature Camps were held in Kavunji, just outside of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu. In Camp 1, 30 students attended, Camp 2 held 33 students, and Camp 3 held 29 students. Both Auroville and Outreach Schools were represented, including: Aikiyam (10 students), Udavi (10), Transition (41), TLC (6), Future School (3), NESS (5), Last School (5), Deepanam (6), Pondy (2), Home-schooling (1), and Child Development (2). In addition, 10 Auroville and Outreach teachers attended Auroville Nature Camps and were supported financially by generous funds from SAIIER.

Outcomes

Auroville Nature Camp exposed 92 students and 10 teachers to the wonders of nature and helped them develop skills for living and working outdoors. While these students were the direct beneficiaries, indirectly, their experience in and appreciation for nature will hopefully manifest itself in the Auroville bioregion in the future through nature conservation efforts.

Reflections

Despite a skeletal AV Nature Camp Team, we again executed another successful summer with three full camps (unlike only two camps in 2014). While in 2014, we hosted 57 students, this year we had 92 in total, which is a tremendous increase! In addition, with the support of SAIIER and others, we have begun work to complete the infrastructure of the camp.

We would like to access other teaching/outdoor leadership resources within Auroville to further enhance the educational outcomes of AV Nature Camp. We don’t feel that we have much to share right now, but would like to learn about further resources in AV.