The Dongyanshan Natural Education Center, the first Environmental Education Center of the Forestry Bureau opening on June 30th, provides a great diversity of natural and cultural learning programs to fit participants at different levels during the July and August summer vacation. The learning camps, focusing on local subjects, aim at the interiorizing of forest protection and ecosystem conservation concepts into the people.
Two kinds of summer camps, “Bugs’ Secrets Exploring Camp” and “The Ninja School – Forest Kung- Fu Training Station” were designed especially for elementary students from grades 3 to 6, said the Bureau. The Camps were so popular that the enrollment filled soon after they opened for bookings. The “Bugs” and the 1st term of the “Training Station” were completed July 9th to 11th and 18th to 20th respectively. All the kids who attended the “Bugs’” camp were fascinated by the wonderland of forest insects. Via ecological observation, photographical techniques and dynamic activities, the children not only gained knowledge of insects but also get a better understanding of their habitat.
“The kids were having so much fun! Even those who did not like bugs before were excited to share their observations”, one of the kids’ mothers said. “Using digital cameras as a learning tool was also fantastic. The kids held the cameras, taking shots for the first time ever in their lives. I can see how they enjoyed the camp. I made a deal with them to come back for the ‘Training Station’ next year. The kids now are acquainted with the instructors, and want to send a card to express their gratefulness”.
In the “Ninja School – Forest Kung-Fu Training Station” the kids played like a forest Ninja. They had to practice the skills of observing, discovering, creating, self-protecting and fighting, the Forestry Bureau said. By means of interesting, adventurous and marvelous training courses, the kids gained the expertise of natural exploring, team-work, participation, art creativity, physical exercise and environmental awareness, etc. The participants learned how to help each other, to communicate, to create, and to trust people, to cooperate together to solve the problems by brainstorming. Their bodies and minds were both stimulated, offering themselves and others a positive strength via sharing, introspection and feedback.
The ways of learning should not be limited to textbooks; experiences via outdoor activities are even more important, the Bureau emphasized. Therefore, the Dongyanshan Natural Education Center, as the first forest learning organization focusing on environmental protection, provides various educational programs open to kids and adults.
The orienteering, held August 4th to 5th, was suitable for all people, especially families. The activity, being promoted in other countries all over the world as well, has become a popular wilderness sport nowadays. Participants were grouped in 2s or 3s, equipped with map and compass, to find specific sites in the wild one by one and make check points on the records for completing the game. Team spirit is essential for every participant, hence giving great benefit to promote the harmony of the families.
On September 15th comes the “Chinese Deep-Breathing-in Forest Camp”. Participants will learn how to breathe deeply and concentrate the mind by following the instructor in the forest atmosphere. While integrating with the rhythm of the forest, the participants can experience the endless power, the peace and silence of Mother Nature via relaxation of the body, mind and spirit, taking happiness and health back home with them.
On September 22nd “In Town, Without My Car” around the world, another activity, will be introduced to correspond to the issue of global warming. Participants will have lessons regarding the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle of the world. A laboratory of forestry investigation, carbon sequestration calculations and environmental protecting functions of the forest will be included in the camp. The students will go through field training. They also will learn how to reduce greenhouse gasses in their daily life. In order to take action to protect the earth, the Bureau strongly encourages people to use mass transportation. Those who make a reservation and car pool to the camp will have an NT$10 entrance bonus.
Further info: Dongyanshan Natural Education Center, 03-3821533. http://recreat.forest.gov.tw/nec/dys