‘Nature kids’: a holistic approach to reconnect kids and youth with Mother Nature in Sri Lanka. Back to bees and pelicans!
KANCHANA WEERAKOON RANASINGHE
The purpose of the project is to reconnect kids and youth from an urban environment with Mother Nature by conducting awareness programmes and projects that get them outdoors and experiencing nature. Specific activities include weekly "Nature Kids" education programmes, a "Nature Youth" programme to train youth volunteers to work with Eco-V, and a home garden cultivation programme.
The 2013 Award, ‘Holistic Approach to Kids and Nature’, led by Kanchana Weerakoon is completed, but Nature Kids, a weekly free environmental educational programme run at the volunteer-led organic Good Market in Battaramulla, Sri Lanka, still runs every week. Kanchana and her team have gone on to establish Nature Teens, for older children, and Nature Youth, to train the next generation of group leaders and volunteers for the umbrella organisation ECO-V. To support and finance these free programmes, ECO-V has established a range of paid activities, including programmes during the school holidays, and advises on the introduction of Nature Kids programmes in private schools. The team have created five butterfly and bee gardens and more are being established. Kanchana plans to publish a booklet for parents about the advantages of children connecting with nature, as an additional, post completion outcome of the 2013 award.