‘Kaeng Krachan National Park’ is the largest national park in Thailand and and includes several natural features. This national park is a part of the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex which has been included in the list of ASEAN Heritage Parks as it is defined to be “protected areas of high conservation importance representing the ASEAN’s ecosystem.”
Maintaining this park’s heritage in a sustainable way, we need to pay attention to its biodiversity. As such, “Banpu Public Company Limited”, an international versatile energy provider, that is committed to social development in a sustainable way, joined hands with the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University, to continue the work on ‘Power Green Camp’ – an environmental-science camp.
This year, the camp was created under the special theme “Jungle Rumble – Echo from the Deep Forest.” During the pandemic, it started with an online contest to select 15 students to join a field trip to Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi. The camp aimed to enhance knowledge and understanding of environment, science, and natural resources as well as creating awareness in sustainable environmental conservation among the students while building future youth leaders and an environmental youth network.
This year, the “Power Green Camp” set under the theme “Jungle Rumble – Echo from the Deep Forest” invited students in middle school and high school across the country to set up a team of 3 to apply for an online contest. The 2-round of online quiz was conducted to measure knowledge and an understanding of natural resources and environment. Moreover, the students could collect special points through online activites. There were 243 teams that applied for this activity and only 5 teams, or 15 people in total, were selected to join the camp at Kaeng Krachan National Park, Phetchaburi, during 7-9 December 2020.
15 students had the opportunity to explore nature and experience the abundance of ecosystems in the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex. They were allowed to learn more about plant diversity and various animal species, particularly insects, learn how to live safely and how to track animals in the forest as well as how to install cameras to observe wildlife population and their behavior. The camp also took students to join bird watching activity at a national park that is one of the best bird-watching sites in Thailand. There was also another fun activity where students could learn astronomy from observing the sky at night.
In addition, students also participated in a CSR activity as they learnt how to make artificial salt lick, a source of minerals that were essential for wildlife such as elephants, wild oxen, red bulls, deers, as well as birds and insects. To make artificial salt lick, it helped maintain an abundance of food sources for wildlife while also prevent wildlife from going out for food in the community area and reduce conflicts with the villagers as well.
Mrs. Udomlux Olarn, Head of Corporate Communications at Banpu Public Company Limited, said “Today, children can access any knowledge they want to know in various fields as much as adults from online. But it would be better if they had the opportunity to come out of classroom and learn from real experiences, which would make them better understand things around them. In addition, giving children the opportunity to be in the field close to nature and see its beauty will make them appreciate, love and cherish the value of the environment. It can even inspire them to volunteer and act as a conservationist.
This is something that everyone can start with themselves by adjusting their daily behavior to live in harmony with nature. And afterwards, they can use their voice and pass on the knowledge gained from the camp to those around them, allowing them to realize the importance and the connection between nature’s biodiversity and human beings. This connecting force positively affects youth attitudes and behaviors towards the love they would have for the environment. It is also in line with Banpu’s concept for conducting our corporate social responsibility activities that ‘Learning is the Power of Change and Development.’
Dr. Poonperm Vardhanabindu, Assistant to the Dean at the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University, said “Selecting students to participate in the Power Green Camp, we choose the groups that have real interests in nature, so the impact from the camp would be a chain of positive effect.
This starts with cultivating them with knowledge and inspiration in environmental conservation, allowing them to convey their knowledge to the people around them and convince them to have the same passion. Eventually, they would form a strong network of people who are passionate about environmental conservation and who have the same goal of making a positive and sustainable environmental impact. This is the ultimate goal of the camp.”
Selected students who joined the Power Green Camp had the opportunity to gain exciting knowledge from real environmental experts and have fun and memorable experiences at the camp that they were ready to convey the knowledge to everyone around them. Big-Warakorn Termsaithong said “It’s true. We are just kids, but the environment is something that we can also start to conserve. Personally, I love joining this kind of activity and I have special interest in the environment as I see it is close to our daily lives.
I decided to come to this camp because I wanted to experience another kind of trekking activity that I couldn’t find in the city. And I can come back to tell others that the forest is important to our lives from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. We drink water and we breathe the air but it’s not only that. It is a fact that some plants and animals are on their way to extinction, so it is as important to conserve them as to conserve the nature for us all.”
Eiam-Waranya Mornonta said ”Personally, I like environmental science, so I always try to find this kind of opportunity and join activities like this. What I impressed the most about this camp was when we had to do water quality measurement from tiny insects that were almost invisible to our eyes, but it helped us know how clean the water in that area was. I’ll try doing this at home and see if the waterfall near my house is clean or not. Another activity that I love so much was bird watching. It allowed us to see the beauty of nature and to see a rare bird like hornbill in the forest. It was a very rare and fun opportunity for everyone.”
Kao-Klaopoom Charoensiri said “Power Green Camp has opened up a very good experience and provide insightful knowledge for us. Probably because of a small number of people here in the camp, we are allowed to learn to the fullest. Personally, I am interested in environmental issue. It is because my father loves hiking. He always tells stories about the forest and that makes me more and more interested in this matter.
I like to study animals, how their body looks and how they live their lives. To join this camp, I was allowed to get close to nature and explore so many trees that are rare find. Many of them were decades older than me. It should take a long time to grow such big trees. We should, therefore, join together and do every way we can to protect them. For me, there are a lot more things we can learn from the forest.”