Children's Academy School, Asha Nagar, Mumbai
Nature Trail Report
Kids for Tigers celebrated Children’s Day at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park with the IX standards of Children’s Academy School, Asha Nagar. The children, teachers and naturalists gathered outside the park gates by 8:00 am and marched towards the Silonda trail soon after. The walk to Silonda took almost 20 minutes. The children who eagerly gathered around the KFT Naturalists- Shardul Bajikar, Zeeshan Mirza, Jackin Kedia and Rajesh Sanap; were told the rules to be followed in the jungle and the biodiversity of SGNP in brief. After this they were divided in 3 groups led by their respective naturalists.
On the trail the children were shown the Haldu tree with its heart shaped leaves and were told the importance of the tree. The importance of understanding scientific names as a means to understand the natural history was explained to the kids with the ‘Haldu’ tree. Once the discussion about the tree was done, the children moved further on where many webs of the funnel web spider were spotted.
The Bombax or the Red Silk Cotton tree which had shed its leaves in the dry season was seen in its leaf-less state. Many birds and insects feed on the flower of this tree which produces nectar in great abundance. A little ahead many carpenter bees with pollen scattered on their back were spotted. The colour of the wings of the bees- bluish looked beautiful under the bright shining sun. As the children stood around to watch, the bees buzzed around busily around feeding themselves on the nectar of the bluish purple flower of the ‘Vigna’ plant. At the end of the trail, the 3 groups met at the stream where some crabs were spotted. One of the naturalists found a juvenile rat snake and along with a rescued coral snake was also released in the park. The coral snake was especially was treat to the kids and also for all of us.
Once together, the group was explained about 350 and its significance and also the KFT message to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere by protecting our forests and its wildlife, was also very well received by the kids. The kids aptly called the creatures like the carpenter bee, termites, snakes etc. as the ‘Climate Control Agents’.
After the long, natural history and wonderful sighting packed session it was time for a picture session. The children gathered around the stream where the 100 students held the 3 5 0 cut out painted with tiger stripes, by Pooja Nagpal, KFT Cordinator, Mumbai. This was done to show support for the number 350 which is the safe upper limit of Carbon dioxide, in our atmosphere. On the way back the kids and instructors collected plastic and other non-biodegradable garbage from the forest.