ISLAMABAD: The seventh National Children’s Mountain Conservation Meet organized by Adventure Foundation Pakistan is going to be held from 1st July to 10th July 2008. This year Meet is scheduled to be held Kaghan Valley. This programme was launched on the occasion of International Year of Mountains-2002 with a view to create awareness among young people about the mountain ecosystems and involve them in meaningful activities using mountains’ environment as an open classroom. Under this programme each year 120 children are selected from all parts of Pakistan to attend a 10 days camp in mountain environment.
Ikram Bashir Deputy Director AFP said that selection process on countrywide basis has been started and regional selection committees are conducting interviews in their respective regions. Aftab-ur-Rehman Rana Vice President AFP said that this project has great significance for the children who want to contribute to protect our natural environment.
This programme involves young children in an action-oriented form of learning about the natural environment and its related problems. Eventually it makes them conscious enough to do something practical for the conservation and preservation of our natural environment. The children who attend this Meet are given the title of “Eco-Guards” which gives them confidence to play an active role in their day to day life to create awareness about protection of natural environment and its important role in our daily life.
Opening Ceremony of the event will be held in Abbottabad on2nd July. Senior officials of Wildlife Department and Forest Department of NWFP and representatives of environmental NGOs will also attend the function. The themes of this year meet are Biodiversity and Forest, Energy conservation, Water conservation and Waste Management and Recycling. Environmental expertise will brief the participants about the importance of mountain ecosystems and issues of global warming, depletion of fresh water, deforestation and threats to environment in wilderness and urban areas.
Participants will Move to Base Camps in Naran and Shogran on 3rd July. Two base camps are established at Naran and Shoghran with the collaboration of Pakistan Tourism Department. Children will spend their eight days in environmental activities in Naran and Shogran accompanied by resource persons on flora and fauna.
The participants will be divided into four working groups, each group with a environmental symbol. Activities like study of flora and fauna, study of lifestyle of local people, Saiful Muluk cleanup, tree plantation on mountain slopes and awareness about proper waste management will be carried out during this period by the young participants. On 6th July Mountain Environment Awareness Walk will be held at Naran while in the evening Cultural Night will be organized in which participants children will present their local culture and songs.
At the end of the Meet 7th Mountain Children Forum will be held at Margalla Hotel Islamabad on 10th July. Federal Minister for Environment will be the Chief Guest on this occasion. In the forum children will make presentations about the themes of the meet and share their experiences of camp activities with the audience. They will also make recommendations to the Ministry of Environment to address environmental issues.
So far six children Meets under this project have been held in different mountains areas of Pakistan and 700 young participants and 200 staff members from all over the country including children from far-flung areas of Hunza, Gojal, and Chitral in up north and Lasbela in extreme south have participated in this programme. It is now an annual event of AFP and every year 120 to 130 children benefit from this unique programme.-SANA