Thai Conservation Volunteers Join Schools Awareness Weekend
During the first weekend in March, Projects Abroad volunteers from the Conservation Project in Thailand joined forces with Wetlands International and the local Krabi authorities to run a school conservation camp.
It was a pilot environmental awareness-raising exercise involving thirty pupils from Muang Krabi School aged between 12 and 16. The weekend started off with a morning of presentations on mangrove and reef ecology, and the need to preserve these vital ecosystems by the planting of mangrove trees and the cleaning of beaches and reefs. As a result of the hard work and inspiration of the volunteers during February, fantastic interactive educational games and a short play had been developed, which definitely helped to hold the children's attention for the whole morning.
This was followed after lunch by a trip to the mangrove walkway in Krabi town allowing the pupils to see first hand the highly productive mangrove ecosystems. It was evident that they had been attentive during the morning because several kids jumped down into the mud to pick up litter lying amongst the trees and shrubs. Everyone was then taken to the school where we all joined in planting 80 trees around the school grounds.
Despite an already long day, there was still one more activity that day - a beach clean up near Thara Park in Krabi. Within an hour, 454kg of rubbish was enthusiastically collected. The effectiveness of many people cleaning was evident as was the amusement of locals walking past for whom the notion of cleaning a beach was completely alien; hopefully the sight of thirty school kids and fifteen foreigners doing just this might have increased their awareness of dropping litter as well as providing an unusual spectacle.
The children spent the night in tents and we rejoined them the next day for a trip to the bird hideout on Koh Klang, where unfortunately there weren't many birds to be seen due to it being low tide. The children went back to the mangrove walkway to carry out various research projects, and draw some incredibly colourful and artistic pictures of the ecosystem. Everyone had lunch together in Thara Park, and then played some very energetic and slightly crazy games, followed by splitting into groups to develop two minute plays about environmental topics.
The weekend was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by volunteers and school children alike. The effort and participation of the Projects Abroad volunteers will have definitely made a positive impression on the children involved and was very much appreciated by all the teachers and Wetlands International.
To read more about our work on the Thailand Conservation Project last month click here
To read more about the Conservation Awareness Weekend click here.