Five-day summer vacation residential camp “Vaisakha Salabangal” concluded

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M S Swaminathan Botanical Garden, Wayanad organized a five-day summer vacation residential camp – Vaisakha Salabangal from 15th to 19th May 2023 to empower school students with experimental learning. Dr. Jithin Kandoth, Development Coordinator, MSSRF, and Coordinator of the camp, welcomed the participants and guests and briefed them about the programme. Mr. Girigan Gopi, Senior Development Coordinator, inaugurated the camp during the ceremony presided over by Mr V. V. Sivan, Senior Scientist. Ms. Dhanya C. S., Scientist proposed the vote of thanks for the inaugural ceremony.

Today 19 May 2023, I returned home after the residential camp. ” Vyshakha shalabhangal” conducted by Swaminathan Research Foundation. It was an ever-memorable experience for me. For the first time, I was away from home. I was a little nerved in the first day. But I could overcome this. The activities and programmes conducted by the trainers were very much helpful. I was not ready to participate in any programme in my school due to stage fear. But during camp days I could overcome my problem. Outdoor activities like bird watching, sky observation etc were remarkable. I very much enjoyed the Drama session. The Ice breaking activities gave me a chance to think and laugh. Trainers gave an opportunity to understand the importance of Artificial intelligence. All the faculties were very much lovable and friendly. This camp gave me an opportunity to mingle with many other students from different parts of Kerala. Now I have friends all over Kerala. I really thank all the trainers and institutions, especially the programme coordinator. My humble request is that again we need such wonderful classes.

Allen John Mathews

The camp was designed to provide students with an experimental approach to learning, fostering their curiosity, scientific thinking and appreciation for nature. During the camp, students delved into various thematic areas including biodiversity conservation, evolution, flora and fauna, star gazing, bird & butterfly watching, theatre, arts, career guidance with cultural programmes.

Mr. Sujith M., the development assistant, MSSRF and Mr. Abdullah Habeeb, the Development associate, handled the icebreaking session on the first day for rapport building among the students. Ms. Febina Rahoof, Wayanad district coordinator, Vimukthi handled a session on life skill training. Shri. K. K. Ramakrishnan, Astro Kerala, Wayanad explained the mysteries of the Planet Earth and the students could understand the world beyond their planet and its magnitude.

The second day started with an informative session on biodiversity and its conservation aspects which was handled by Dr. Jithin Kandoth. The students clutched the knowledge on the importance & ways of biodiversity conservation. Mr Sangeeth, a budding taxonomist, lead a session marvellously on bird diversity. Dr. C. P. Shaji, a renowned fish taxonomist, shared insights on freshwater fishes and their historical legacy. In addition, a session on theatre arts was also included handled by Shri. Harilal V. M. He carved acting abilities among students and it helped the campers to boost their self-confidence.

On the third day campus visits were organised with documentation on birds and butterflies through observations. The session was handled by Mr. Ajayan P. A. who increased the curiosity about the flying creatures.

A session on career guidance was handled by the team Totem Resource Centre, Wayanad. Shri. Jais Sreekumar explained the different opportunities through action-oriented displays. In the evening, Shri. Ahammed Basheer brought the campers to the world of snakes and narrated the ambiguities and realities. The students interacted with the Director, Dr. Shakeela V. as she highlighted the activities of MSSRF and gave best wishes to all the students. Mr. Joseph John, Scientist, delivered a speech on science and its implications for society.

On the fourth day of the camp, a magnificent session from Dr Anil Zachariah about the evolution of human beings was conducted. The sessions helped the students to comprehend the importance of each creature and its role in the world. The afternoon sessions were handled by Mr Binesh M. K., Junior Manager, MSSRF, with the sessions on Artificial intelligence. Later on, he trained the students along with Mr Alphin K. Francis, Technical Assistant, MSSRF to bring confidence in public speaking and stage appearance.

The final day started with a session by Mr Prajeesh Parameshwaran, and he handled the session to increase the IQ level of students through different scientific tools. The students were deeply involved in the exercise and they were mesmerized with the session.

The closing ceremony started with the feedback of campers and was inaugurated by Smt. Omana Ramesh, Honorable President, Meppadi Gramapanchayath along with the presence of Shri. Raju Hejamadi, Chairman, Development Standing Committee, Shri. Abdul Azeez, Chairman, Welfare Standing Committee, and Smt. Suneera Muhammed Rafi, Chairperson, Health and Education Standing Committee. The session was presided over by Mr. V. V. Sivan, Senior Scientist, MSSRF and Mr. Sujith M proposed the vote of thanks for the programme. The programme was concluded along with the sunset on the same day.