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How do we rethink outdoor education during the pandemic?

Our team collectively has been working to develop a series of outdoor education modules. Starting December 2021 we’ve officially now expanded and completed this program in Kurule-Tenupa and now in TMJ. 19, grade 7 students from Kurule Tenupa Secondary school have now successfully completed the modules. These modules developed by Michael and Ishita, are run and managed all by the youth fellows and youth coordination team of all organizations.

Supported by the Friends of Nepal organization, we were able to scale this program to the two regions. Building on the pilot conducted with Koshi Tappu students, we’ve tweaked the modules and developed appropriate place-based modules for Kurule.

As with Koshi Tappu, students were excited to be using tablets and interfacing through zoom - a platform they quickly adapted to including using chat boxes, annotating on zoom, and also using emoticon reactions. Using field journals, zoom, google earth, they started to engage in the modules to learn and also through screen sharing and present their observations as well. The network connectivity and electricity problems challenged students to participate fully but they went to the Neighbours to charge the tablets or to get better connectivity. We were happy to see their passion for learning.

Guest speakers for our modules included lectures by Lokendra Yakkha ji who described the history of the Tamur river and its relation to the local indigenous communities in Kurule-Tenupa. Dirghaman Tamang ji further educated the students about endangered animal friends including pangolins, vultures, and the main reasons for the decline. Students also collected stories about the water crisis by interviewing their elders and parents to understand the past and the present situation. The more they learned about their landscape, understand the patterns, indigenous histories, the more they became excited and curious. They also became concerned about the climate change impacts and the declining populations of the endangered species.

We would like to thank Shree Kurule Tenupa High School, and Chaubise GaunPalika for their interest, support, and partnership in implementing this program. We would like to thank our incredible students, their parents, guest speakers, teachers, and the board members and staff of Tamur Permaculture Learning Grounds for ensuring a well planned and well executed implementation.

We hope to continue such sessions in other remote areas using the same teaching and learning tools. Here are a few glimpses of the virtual outdoor education program.

Photos continued...