Forest and Environment Minister Harak Singh Rawat launched the Nature Vidya web portal on Monday.
The portal offers a wide range of simple tools for nature educators to engage children outdoors, covering topics such as ecology, garbage, climate change etc.
This website not only helps prepare for any future school disruptions, but also makes available sophisticated tools in Hindi to grassroots teachers for the first time.
Environment education is considered to be the foundation for building strong leadership and independent observation skills in children.
In India, several southern States, including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu as well as Gujarat, have strong collaborations between civil society organisations and state education departments for outdoor nature and environment education.
When environment education is approached systematically, children learn to solve local problems and develop independent thinking leading to more localised careers. Although eco-clubs have been formed in all the Government schools of Uttarakhand, there is limited exposure of teachers and students to modern nature and environment education. A major limitation has been the lack of Hindi resources for teachers.
To address these lacunae, Nature Science Initiative (NSI) in collaboration with JBGVS has initiated the bilingual Hindi-English website Nature Vidya that caters exclusively to environment education.
Rawat also released a Hindi book on the peepal tree and its ecology, called ‘Rahasmayee Bagicha’, authored by Shruthi Rao. This book helps children learn important ecological concepts by observing fig trees like the Peepal.
They learn about the value of friendships in nature to sustain life, and understand how fig trees like the Peepal are important keystone species. Principal chief conservator of forest (head of forest force) Rajiv Bhartari was also present on the occasion.