This past week we made a momentous discovery - a forest some five minutes from where we live.
A friend had once mentioned it but I dismissed it as one of the many parks or gardens that abound here. Anyway, so last week one morning with plenty of time and little to occupy us, the kids and I walked down a back road which we thought was dead end. We crossed a few slum houses, clambered up a slope and there it was! The forest - wild and unkempt - just lots of trees with tracks running through.
As it turned out our 'discovery' was as misguided as that of Christopher Columbus. The forest had already been discovered and christened too. Anandvan - The Forest of Happiness.
As we walked around we spotted a bunch of people hard at work. A gentleman approached us and introduced himself as Kumar. Before we knew it he had handed the kids plastic containers and they were following him around watering plants, looking at birding 'nests' hung up on trees and listening intently as he chatted on about afforestation and the need to spend time with trees.
|THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE|
|HARD AT WORK|
|INVITING THE BIRDS|
"We need more people, more children to pitch in here", he said and added, "It is a huge area".
"How often can you come here?" he persisted.
I was a little taken aback because I had not planned on making this a regular affair at all. "Once a week," I offered tentatively.
"Twice," he said. "Make it twice and see the difference in the children, in their eating habits, sleeping habits and in the way they perceive nature".
It made sense. At least the kids were out in the open, away from the dangerously addictive gadgets and having a good time in the best way possible.
Done with the 'work' they were left to look around.
They found a tiny man-made pool....
|HOW DEEP RUN THE WATERS?|
|ROCK A BYE BABY :-)|
... and collected interesting bits of rocks, which were photographed and sent off to geologist nanu for identification.
|FOREST TREASURES: SOME MAN MADE SOME NATURAL|
They also found a water reservoir and tried their hand at pumping water from a hand pump. Finally, they had to be dragged back with the lure of breakfast at their favourite joint. Quite the perfect weekend morning.
We intend to keep going there. Twice a week remains our aim. With Diwali vacations round the corner it'll be a regular haunt.
NOTE TO SELF: Look around more often. Explore the 'dead ends'. Step out more. Look for the greens - a garden, a park or (if I'm lucky) a forest. There just may be more green treasures waiting to be discovered.
Labels: Anandvan, Encouraging kids to enjoy Nature, Kids and Nature