Monday, July 4, 2011

EcoCare Soneva Nature Trip - 13 2011

EcoCare Soneva Nature Trip - 13

Welcome to Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi have now sponsored  EcoCare Soneva Nature Trip for 13 years. The trip is arranged for school children aged between 12 and 15 years of age from Male the capital of the Maldives. Male has a land mass of 5.789 km2 or 2.2351 sq miles making it the second most densely populated island in the world. As you can imagine there is not many trees or wild life on Male.
or some of the children this is the first time they have left Male and been to not only a resort but get to see tropical forests, wild life, marine and aquatic life too, not to mention recycling and other sustainable food production  systems in place and being introduced to a new word “Permaculture”

Start of the EcoCare Trip

The Soneva Nature trip was held from 4th till 10th of June 2011 throughout the Baa Athol with the children based at Kudarikilhu Island where they camped after staying the first night at Soneva Fushi.
80 school children attended from different schools on Male. It was interesting to note that even on an island as small as Male some of the children had never met before.

80 Eco children and support staff

After their 3 hour boat trip from Male there was an opening ceremony where Sonu the owner of Soneva Fushi and Chairman of Six Senses Resorts gave a welcome speech encouraging the children to absorb as much as possible over the next 7 days. He discussed the how important the environment is and more so for the Maldives due to their unique low lying nation which will be effected greatly by climate change, Global warming if changes don’t occur world wide.

Sonu in green and white shorts

All were feed and watered then the activities of the day started. Four groups of 20 were arranged as there were 4 environmental activities for the children to experience and to be inspired from.

Off to Eco Centro

Activity 1 was “Reef observation” run by Kate Wilson the marine biologist assisted by Krishantha, Mahzoom and Moosa from water sports plus support staff from Eco Care and teachers. The team spent all day in the water snorkeling with the children and for some this was the first time they had swum let alone snorkeled. Well done Kate and team a huge effort.

Kate Kris and watersports team 

The following day Kate and the team took the children to Hanifaru faru Bay and 74 out of the 80 children saw Manta rays!!!!

Kris explaining the finer points

Activity 2 was a tour of Eco Centro ”Waste to Wealth” centre ,the Permaculture Outdoor Classroom and Solar Field conducted by myself and my trusty snapper La La who took most of the photo’s shown.

Note books out and questions flying 

Solar field

View from above

Activity 3 was a tour of the Organic Garden “Fresh in the Garden and Observatory run by Shameem our expert astrologer. the children were shoen a slide show and were able to see the stars and planets after dinner. 

Poster prepared by a student 

The forth activity was a visit to a Guest Eco Villa and Nature Walk through the island guided by Zidhan and Abbas.

To control the flow of all the children were Nashid, Ameer and Ashia and others

Part of the EcoCare team 

The 80 students I meet were amazing and all interested in what we were doing and asking questions all the time and wanting samples of all the recycled products we made. Hands were thrust forward with pieces of paper to collect bio char, coconut fiber, mulch and compost. It was a rewarding day for all.

Compost anyone ?
Crushed glass below

On the final day we were invited to the closing ceremony on Kudarikilhu Island where the children had been hosted by the local community using the schools facilities

Throughout the week the children had to attend various seminars on environmental issues and make presentations. For successfully completing the Eco Trip the Managing Director of the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Alan Thomas for Six Senses Resorts and Laurie Burr General Manager of Soneva Fushi presented certificates of attendance.

Study time 

all worth it 

This was then followed by a tree climbing activity which is not possible on Male.
Tree climbing pic
Fun well was had

Lunch was incredible and amazing array of traditional food locally caught and grown though before lunch we were treated to various fish pastes and the best of all local Tote syrup from the coconut palm with home made waffles...

SLOW food

We were finally treated to the sounds of young bodibra band from the school and when I say young a baby was into it!!

He was unstopable and on beat

When the children were asked what was their most memorable experience they all said the trip to Hanifaru faru Bay to see the Manta rays.

The experience was unforgettable and I look forward to Eco Care 14

Never too old to EcoCare

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