Forest dept proposes to take schoolkids on picnics in the wild

Forest dept proposes to take schoolkids on picnics in the wild

Scheme aimed at giving them first-hand experience of the jungle

The Forest Department has proposed to take students of government high schools on three-day trips to the nearest wildlife sanctuary or national park in the next academic year to give them first-hand experience of and exposure to the wilderness.

Fifty per cent of the schoolchildren will be from the Other Backward Class (OBC), Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. 

The schemed is proposed to be named “Chinnara Udyana Pravasa” (wildlife tour for children). Students of 200-odd government high schools in 100 taluks in the State will be taken on the tour. 

Only students of class 9 may be taken on the tours since class 10 pupils will be busy preparing for SSLC examinations while students of lower classes are considered less mature, the department said in its proposal.  ReservationSeeking approval from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the Finance Department, the Forest Department stated that 50 per cent of the students would be from OBC, SC and ST communities. “Out of 100 students in each batch, at least 50 will be from OBC and SC/ST category,” the department said in the statement of purpose of the scheme. 

Students will be taken to the Nagarahole National Park and the Bandipur and Dandeli-Anshi tiger reservers besides the Bannerghatta National Park, depending upon the location of the chosen school. 

The Forest Department has proposed to bear the cost of transportation, lodging and boarding for the three-day trip in all wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the State. 

It said it would hire KSRTC buses to the closest sanctuary or national park within a radius of 250 kms. During the trip, the department will organise two one-hour lectures in the three days on awareness and behaviour in the jungle.

The children will be served breakfast, lunch and dinner, apart from tea and biscuits four times a day in the three days. 

The department will also conduct quiz and essay writing competitions and other activities to make the children aware of wildlife protection and conservation. Each trip is expected to cost Rs 1.25 lakh. 

It has sought a budgetary allocation of Rs five crore to implement the scheme in the next academic year.