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Attention, young eco champs!

Last updated: 21 July, 2010
Abhisheka K, Dr Aravind N A, Dr Ganesh T, July 22 15:54 IST

The Vacation Training Programme (VTP), conducted by ATREE, is a national programme funded by the Department of Bio-Technology, Government of India, and runs for 3-4 weeks in several cities in India.

The Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) has been conducting the VTP in Bangalore. It aims at promoting interest and knowledge about natural resources and the environment among students.

The programme provides opportunities to youngsters to acquire attitudes, values and skills needed to protect and improve the natural environment.

The programme consists of lectures and interactive sessions with eminent scientists and experts in the field of biology and bio-resources, visits to research institutes, orientation to skills required for field-biology and outdoor camps.

All the lectures use power-point presentations to hold the interest of the students. The topics include biodiversity of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and amphibians and issues related to bio-resource conservation such as wildlife living in cities, rehabilitating displaced wildlife, waste management, sustainable agriculture, sustainable living and produce from forests that are important for indigenous people living in forests.

The students are also exposed to field activities that make them learn new skills such as tree climbing to appreciate tree canopies, map reading and navigation to orient themselves in a new landscape, observation skills by sketching birds for identification, identifying plants and insects, testing the quality of water and taking latitude and longitude of a place using a Global Positioning System.

Field trips to places like Biligiri Rangaswamy Wildlife Sanctuary and Ranganthittu bird sanctuary make students realise the importance of protecting natural habitats for animals.

Visits to places like the Butterfly Park inside the Bannerghatta National Park and the Bannerghatta Rescue Centre offer them a chance to see the birds and butterflies at close quarters.

The Vacation Training Programme is open to Class 10 students from recognised schools in Karnataka.

Students who are excited about environment and want to know how to go about protecting it should apply. As most activities involve spending many hours outdoors, students should be physically fit and willing to take up such activities.

For more details, visit http://atree.org/vtp

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