Exploring nature in the city: Children’s weekend club outing Feb 18, 2012

Dipanwita, a dear friend, initiated a weekend club for children last month (one more in a growing list of hobby clubs in Gurgaon, which is virtually buzzing with community-building activities like this), starting with a theater workshop on a Saturday in January 2012. This month, another friend Ritu, a nature lover and a lady with a green thumb, led the children and a bunch of tag-along adults into an exploration of nature in the midst of our city. Gurgaon, whatever its ills, has a few excellent green areas in and around it and the Sector 56 Tau Devi Lal Biodiversity Park was the centrally located, urban park chosen for today’s walk.

We assembled at seven- eight children and five adults to walk around the park. Ritu asked the children to observe keenly, ask questions and collect samples of whatever took their fancy in a bag. Cleverly, she praised the kids as responsible citizens who wouldn’t do something as base as plucking flowers and leaves, and it worked! The team walked in reasonable order, discovering a variety of palms, bamboos, flowering trees and bushes, a set of religious trees like peepal and ashoka and finally, a small rose garden.

We took a break for snacks and then, Ritu set out two drawing exercises for us all to do. In the first, we were asked to use the collected samples as stencils, trace shapes in an overlapping sort of composition and then shade it in. The second exercise was to draw a tree, not stylistically as children tend to do, but as close to reality as possible.

The experience brought up in a fun way a whole host of topics like natural propagation, conservation, biodiversity, the different uses of certain plants, the importance of green lungs in a city and many more. I was impressed by how much the kids knew and even more so by their curiosity. The drawing exercises challenged us all in terms of focus and helped us internalize patterns from nature. Here are some pictures from our exploration this morning.

Yes, this is in Gurgaon, a small green haven!

The enthusiastic group; Ritu answers questions on the right, others discuss as they walk

The kids bonded well as they filled their collection bag

Some bizarre stuff as well- Manas swallows a dog's jaw!

The park is frequented by the local villagers, a happy lot!!

My stab at the first exercise-tracing outlines and shading the samples collected

Udai's attempt at drawing a tree from observation

Some of the artwork was brilliant! Nitya, the artist, poses

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7 thoughts on “Exploring nature in the city: Children’s weekend club outing Feb 18, 2012

  1. Hmmm…good. I declare you the blogger for the group….documenting as we go along ….Missed having a similar one for the Jan workshop!

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