GUWAHATI- A group of students from the Geography Department, Devi Charan Barua Girls College, Jorhat participated in the recent Journey for Learning programme of region’s leading biodiversity conservation non-profit, Aaranyak in Bhuyanpara of Manas. The objective of the field trip was to learn about the area of Manas from a perspective of disaster.
The three day long programme started at Manas Conservation and Outreach Center (MCOC) of research based biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak at Manas from December 22-24 last. The programme included a series of field activities and theory sessions for experiential learning.
On the first day, the students had a session on the importance of Geography on field and how to carry out field activities by Dr Jayanta Kumar Sarma from Aaranyak. He talked about the importance of being observant on the field so as to be able to grab any minute details of the surroundings and keeping records of the observations through photographs, drawing and notes respectively for their understanding .
The session helped the students during the village walk which was the next on field activity arranged for the students. The students walked along the borders of Manas National Park in the Bhuyanpara Range entering the fringe village of Bamankhal (or Bamunkhal). They experienced the Bodo cultural and natural landscape and also interacted with the Bodo community. The day ended with theoretical sessions by Dr Sarma who briefed the students about the terrain of the area and some root causes of natural disasters in the area. The national award winning non-feature environmental film of Aaranyak ‘Manas and People’ was also screened later in the evening.
The second day started with the soundscape mapping, viewscape mapping and drawing in the border of Manas National Park followed by briefing of Household surveys by Dr Sarma and GPS and GIS orientation and field activity by Gayatri Dutta from Aaranyak. The students were given hands-on training and practical experiences on the use of GPS and QGIS. The students were also introduced to household surveys in the nearby villages of Korebari and Bhuyanpara of Manas.
On the third day, the students went for a park safari at the Bhuyanpara Range of MNP. The other activities carried out on the day were the Participatory Rural Appraisal, and Focused Group Discussion with the community of Bhuyanpara where the students acquired a deep understanding of the physical and social Geography of the village. Bobby Nath, the Manager (Administration) of Aaranyak briefed about Aaranyak’s overall interventions on biodiversity conservation and people’s well-being.
The students were also exposed to another important topic Solar and Bio-fencing in Manas for Human Elephant Conflict mitigation by Aaranyak’s Anjan Baruah. At the end of the day, ‘The Sons of Abotani’ film was screened followed by a quiz and feedback session.
Journey for Learning (J4L) is a community based eco-cultural tourism initiative of Aaranyak that focuses on experiential learning for nature enthusiasts.