Three day training programme for Educators'
(Samrakshan Trust-Northeast) on wildlife education, Meghalaya

Given the rich and threatened biodiversity of the project areas of Samrakshan Trust in both Meghalaya and Mizoram, activities on Environment Awareness for the local communities form a crucial component of the intervention by the organisation.  Hence Samrakshan Trust offices at Meghalaya and Mizoram felt the need to develop an innovative environment education programmes that is sensitive to the local culture and requirements. In order to meet this objective, a three day training programme was organised soliciting Zoo Outreach Organisation from November 3rd to 5th, 2007 to select members (seven persons) from the two teams of Samrakshan Trust from Meghalaya and Mizoram. The programme was conducted at Rural Resource Training Institute (RRTC), Umran, Ri-Bhoi District, Meghalaya.

Samrakshan Trust works with communities living in close proximity to or inhabiting ecologically fragile and biodiversity rich areas, and through a variety of development interventions shaped by local specificities and needs seeks to increase the local communities’ involvement and stake in conserving their natural surroundings.

Samrakshan group members

The objective of the training programme was to help the Meghalaya and Mizoram Field Offices to develop an innovative Environment Awareness programme and impart training to select staff members from the two teams on communication techniques and tools to ensure effective delivery of the programme to a varied audience within the two project areas.

Training details:
Since ST work with the communities who live in close proximity to Hoolock habitats, the entire training programme was designed to learn about Hoolock gibbons utilizing the teaching methodologies given in the ‘Helping Hoolock Gibbons Hang On’ manual developed by Zoo Outreach Organisation. This manual is in line with the methods of TFT manual developed by WCS.  In addition to the manual games and activities from different sources were tried and discussed in detail.  There were seven members, four from Meghalaya office and three from Mizoram office.  Dr. B.A. Daniel and Mr. R.Marimuthu from ZOO were the resource persons for the three day programme.

After the ice breaker activities, all members shared their role in their respective places and network and education activities of ZOO was explained.  

Hoolock Gibbon behaviour - body length activity

Showing drama clippings performed by other educator teams

The Hoolock and Tiger manuals were introduced to them and activities given in the manual was tried.   Assessment methods: Content survey pictorial and written, facts about Hoolock gibbons, drama on poaching, primate dance, Hoolock range map, videos on drama clips for discussion, Hoolock behaviour and biology, Tiger biology: little cats to big cats, finger challenge, Hoolock gibbon History (drawing), basics of taxonomy and taxonomic shuffle: sorting out species, Hoolock taxonomy and species, presentation of story of life, Palpur Kuno WLS citizen’s debate (adapted from TFT manual), ZOO’s education materials and ways to use it and drama  kits and creating drama are the activities covered in three days. The programme ended with an evaluation activity called ‘pass the ball’.  At the end it was decided to work on a detailed plan for education programmes for Meghalaya and Mizoram. 

At different times energizers such as Hawk and the pigeon, connecting eyes, Oh hoolock, Purr and cocoo, write your name on the air and  body writing were conducted.

The venue RRTC has a nice campus and the early morning hours were utilized to see the 360 acre campus and various projects run by them such as mushroom cultivation, model village, fishery farm, goat farm, pig farm, organic vegetable farms and orchards. 

B.A. Daniel and R. Marimuthu