Autumn Camp 2019 🍂
Experiential learning & Environmental Service
The aim of Imagine’s 2019 Autumn camp was to help build the confidence of participants by doing outdoor adventure challenges with maximum exposure to nature. With the environmental service element of the week’s adventure, children also came away with a sense of meaning and purpose. A powerful foundation in a young person’s life.
Resilience & Healthy Ecosystems
Resilience is an essential attribute of any healthy ecosystem, without resilience an ecosystem becomes vulnerable to changes in the environment and is unable to thrive. Healthy ecological communities are full of different plants and animals that all contribute to the overall welfare of the environment they live in. Each organism plays an important role, whether big or small, its the diversity of an ecosystem that helps each individual within it live a healthy life.
Sometimes the connection of one organism to the others might not be that obvious, yet the role it plays supporting the whole community might be important for the welfare of many other organisms. For example, recent discoveries indicate whales may have a substantial influence on the composition of the earth’s entire climate and weather systems! It’s these deep ecological connections of which humans have only recently started to realise the value.
With more children growing up in cities any opportunity for them to get out into nature can open a new world of understanding for them. Just like ecosystems, children can also build resilience in their characters and foster positive emotions by developing an understanding and sense of connection to nature.
Day 1) High Ropes & The Biosphere
With a high wires course, the camp goers were challenged to overcome their fear of heights with a series of obstacle courses at altitude! Sticking with the theme of the skies the educational focus of the day was about the biosphere and how it regulates the temperature of the earth. The 30-meter zip wire was definitely a highlight of the day.
“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.”
Day 2) Birds & Biodiversity
With the support of the wonderful staff at Guandu Ecological Park, participants were able to learn about a variety of birds that visit the wetlands and get involved with some forest habitat restoration. When a new plant or animal is pointed out to a child, they can then start to recognise it in future, vivifying the rich tapestry of life around them throughout their adult lives. In addition to this, they helped create dwellings for little critters looking for a place to make a home in the busy city of Taipei.
Day 3) Cycling & Marine Ecology
Cycling is a liberating way to get about, making getting from A-B fun in itself. It’s easy to see the joy in a child’s face when they’ve just learnt to ride a bicycle and this is a skill they’ll be able to always enjoy. It just so happens that Taiwan has so many exceptional cycling routes to be explored. On this excursion, we went to the east coast where there’s a 3 k long cycling tunnel built by the Japanese many years ago. As a result of the range of ocean temperatures and exposure to different currents, Taiwan has more biodiversity in marine life than the entire Carribean! This makes it a surprisingly great place to dive and go snorkelling. After a tasty lunch, we went with the professional divers at Scubar to check out one of their favourite dive sites. A spectacular Pinnatus Batfish was spotted — an exciting discovery for the children and a fairly rare sighting in that area.
Day 4&5) Forest ecosystems, Tree climbing, Night hikes & Camping
The last two days and one night of the camp were spent in a national park in Taiwan within a majestic fir tree forest. The first challenge was to think about what they would cook on the campfire later that evening and buy the ingredients in a local market. Mhmmm miscellaneous pasta for dinner… After setting up their tents it was time to go and explore the forest with some practice at navigation skills with some basic orienteering. After dinner comfort zones were expanded with a night hike in the forest and everyone turned their head torches off to appreciate the starry sky and the unusual sounds of the forest in the dark. Following a cosy night’s sleep in the tents, the campers went on a fascinating guided tour by a local ranger who shared some stories and knowledge of the forest ecosystem. The tour ended with the support of some professional monkeys who gave an introduction to tree climbing before sending everyone up into the canopy to see the forest from the perspective of a Giant Formosan flying squirrel.
With so much pulling the attention of kids towards screens and technology it’s easy to forget how much fun can be had simply being outside! In Taiwan fortunately, it doesn’t take long to get out into some unbelievably beautiful mountain, forest and coastal locations. We hope that experiences like Autumn camp help build appreciation and connection to nature that offers children an even more exciting world to grow up in.
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