Ecology camp with the Green Garden International School
Ecology camps, school camps and team building can go hand in hand. Mr. Goh from Explore the Wilderness has set up a three day ecology adventure for the Green Garden International School. He invited me to join so I could see for myself how his company organizes the days.
The three days ecology camp would be held in Taiping but would start off in the Gua Tempurung caves, near Ipoh
The Green Garden International School came first to the Gua Tempurung caves near Ipoh. At 10.30 am 5 busses from Kuala Lumpur arrived. Mr. Goh's team welcomed the group of teachers and 160 school children, age 11 to 13 years old at the entrance of the caves.
Due to heavy rainfall we were not able to go into the lower parts of the caves. Instead we followed the easier stairways. As I wrote here, the caves are worth a visit and the kids loved to be there. Especially the slide and the hole they had to pass was exciting. Some children saw bats hanging on the ceiling.
The next day was spend at Kuala Sepetang. The program consist of a boat ride through the mangrove forest, visiting Mr. Chuah Chow Aun's charcoal factory and a visit to the mangrove forest park.
On the fishing boat in the waters of Kuala Sepetang
Mr. Gogh had arranged 3 fishing boats to go out in the mangrove swamps to see how in this area cockles are collected. It was difficult to come close enough to let the children help the fishermen. The fish farm further on the water was great. It gave a nice view of how people breed fish. A short tour on the water through the fishing town, where small ferry's all the time went from one river bank to another was the third part of being on the boats.
After the boat ride, we had a look at the processing of the fish and cockles.
Student looking for fish at the fish farms in Kuala Sepetang
Visiting the charcoal factory was another part of the ecology camp. Mr. Chuah, the boss of this factory, was our host. Apart of being a very friendly man, he is also a gifted guide in the factory. He kept the attention of everyone by explaining how the factory works. We were invited even to get in one of the empty cones to feel the heat of the baking process ourselves.
Students try to prepare the mangrove trees
We were lucky to see how the cones are build. One was in an early stage of building and it was now clear building a cone for the baking process was not just an ordinary job. Next to the cone was a brand new cone, ready to be used.
Mr. Chuah explains how the charcoal gets baked and how long it takes
The last part of day 2 was spend in the mangrove forest where we got an idea of the importance of the mangrove for the country. Monkeys were hanging around trying to find out if some food would be left for increasing their menu.
The first and second evening were filled with learning activities in the form of games. During the second night, a challenging questionnaire was hold that causes not only a lot of fun but also set the children to think. (one of the questions, for example, was: should the mangrove forest at all costs be preserved, yes or no.... indeed a question that deserves quite an extensive answer, as one of the teachers here demonstrate... )
The last day of the ecology camp was spend at three different places: the Taiping Prison where the students got an idea about the history of the prison and treatment of prisoners which was followed by a short visit to the very nice Taiping Museum.
The second part of the morning was spend at the Taiping War Memorial. The last part of the day was spend at the always good to visit Taiping Zoo.
Through the 3 days the students had a work book which they had to use to recognize animals in the Gua Tempurung caves, Kuala Sepetang and the Taiping Zoo, find out how the charcoal factory works, find a grave at the War Memorial and many other things.