Friday, April 24, 2009

Commemorating Environmental Days

It is important for everybody to participate in or show the community their support for Environmental Events. Supporting environmental events is also a great way to learn about a cause, or help improve public perception of the same.

This week’s column seems to be sandwiched between a couple of internationally celebrated environmental days. While 22nd April was Earth Day, 28th April is ‘Save the Frogs Day’. So readers, how did you celebrate Earth Day? On Earth day, I woke up in the Wilderness, or Wildernest to be precise. Spending a day with the family, we made our way up North-East of Goa to the tri-border of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Here in the deep forests of Keri, lies an eco-resort aptly named Wildernest. We all had a nice time unwinding in the midst of nature. The resort is nested in a deep section of the forest and some of the rooms have a great view of the valley below.

There’s no aircon or television in the rooms at Wildernest, however, we didn’t miss it a bit. That’s because the team at Wildernest have elaborately planned out a string of nature related activities that is well spread throughout the day… Birdwatching sessions before breakfast, treks to make you trim and mehindi art sessions just after your afternoon siesta are just some of the activities listed. Somehow though hot as hell in most of Goa, at Wildernest, it was breezy, shady and cool, just how a typical forest ought to be. My brother actually thought it was too cold that night!



During the day, they also organize treks to waterfalls, view points and more. Local cultural dances are performed by locals that live down in the village of Keri in the evenings. If you’re not game for it all, you could also laze in an armchair the afternoon breeze or swim in the infinity pool, a swimming pool with a view of a third of Goa! I swam there in the nights and could see lights in faraway Panjim and Vasco too! I appreciated the silence the most. It was nice to have absolutely no human noise around… it really clears and relaxes the mind.

Meals are served in a common dining area that’s overlooking the horizons. Simple, yet delicious meals are prepared by the cooks using locally sourced ingredients, and guests are asked to serve themselves. It’s self-service here, and once meals are done, used plates and cutlery need to be placed into a wooden tray at the corner. Though this kind of concept might be quite alien to guests used to full service, I think it’s a good initiative for people to help clean up after they’ve drunk and eaten to their hearts content.

Driving away from Wildernest, I could not help but notice the stark difference of getting back to civilization. Things got louder, brighter and dustier. Quite a stark difference to notice even though we were in the forests for just 24 hours! I’d recommend staying over at Wildernest for at least 2 or three days instead of a day.

In my opinion, it was a nice way to celebrate earth day, in the midst of nature. These specially appointed days might seem unimportant at first, but they make us realize the importance of respecting Mother Nature. It's also a great time to learn about a particular cause while helping improve public perception of the same.

In the next week, on Tuesday, the 28th of April is the ‘Save the Frogs’ day worldwide. There are lots of things that you can do to commemorate that day here in Goa .There are some that are writing in the papers, some like Roopa Bandekar and Nirmal Kulkarni who will organize related activities at their newly opened nature store called Earthworm in Porvorim. Ethel Da Costa has planned some programmes on Radio Mirchi and there’s an origami workshop planned in Panjim too. In the last few days, the WildGoa network is abuzz with ideas and suggestions for the 2 month campaign. Would you like to participate or get involved? Let us know and hop in!

Clinton Vaz, 28 lives in Benaulim and works on environment and wildlife issues in Goa. He can be contacted at klintvaz@gmail.com or +91 9890936828 This article appeared on Gomantak Times, 24th April 2009

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