100 kids, 15 villages, 1 purpose
For the third year in a row, we brought together 16 youth groups from the Andaman coast – all from different villages, and all working on local environmental and social issues. The seminar took place at Hat Praphat Research station, where the youth shared their experiences in protecting the environment. They then headed into the field to see local examples of conservation in action.
The following story is from the field trip ‘Water Lily Rafting”:
After a nutritious breakfast the group left the lodging and then after a 20-Minute ride we arrived at our destination, the meeting room of the Nakha Community Conservation Group.
The group met with a park ranger in a small hut and was given an introduction on the national park, its river‚ Nakha’ and the existing flora and fauna. In his speech he constantly included the human element, our functions and behaviors within this particular ecosystem and global system and the impact we have on nature.
For example, if a local resident needs some wood to build his lodge, he is allowed to cut a tree, but for cutting one he has to replace five new ones. And commercial use is strictly prohibited, this encourages people to think and be responsible. After a question and answer session everybody was looking forward to the activity: bamboo-rafting. Each bamboo raft held 3-6 people plus two ferrymen who navigated the canoe with a long bamboo stick.
The river was in some parts very fast and made it difficult for the ferrymen to navigate the boat properly. Rapids turned the boats upside down and the crew had a chance to take a spontaneous swim. While the group floated down the river everybody observed the breathtaking nature with all its beauty. But when the group arrived at the water-lily conservation area it was very alarming.
Some years ago the whole area was abundant with water lilies. However due to dredging the river, many plants, seeds and roots were washed away and the tragic news is they will probably never come back. There were just a couple of blossoms to look at. Through this trip we are trying to educate and spread the word that river dredging changes the conditions for a lot of nature in the area, water lilies included, we have to think about what we are doing and the effects that it will cause.
Read more about Water Lilies here.