Title of submission
SILENT VALLEY - THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE
SILENT VALLEY - THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE
A field trip or excursion is a journey taken by a group of people to a place away from their usual environment. In education, field trips are defined as visits to an outside area of the normal classroom and made by a teacher and students for purposes of firsthand observation. Field trips are a popular method carried out for students to introduce to the concepts, experiences, and ideas that cannot be given in a classroom environment. Study tour is a travel experience with specific learning goals. Study tours are often reported to cause permanent changes in the brain, including increased perceptions and secondary awareness. The outdoor is a living laboratory in which the trees, birds, lakes and animals. School tours can be considered as short-term learning activities providing students the opportunity to observe their chosen subject outside of a classroom setting.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Jawaharlal Nehru.
Biology is a field of study that cannot be confined by the four walls of a classroom. It is the duty of a biologist, to contemplate the nature that she weaving a lot of spectacular sites and charms day by day.
TYPES OF FIELD TRIPS
Based on the major purpose of organizing a field trip, field trips are of various types. They are:
Sightseeing Field Trip
Sightseeing field trips mainly intend on exploring historic structures, discovering World Heritage Sites or unwinding on spectacular landscapes that gain huge interests from students and strongly inspire them.
Language and Culture Educational Field Trip
For students learning foreign languages and culture, field trips are very important and helpful to improve the language and explore the indigenous culture. Staying at a local homestay, taking language lessons and visiting local markets enable students to practice the language, get a deeper understanding of local culture and their captivating paces of life.
Manufacturing Facility Field Trip
Students can be guided to any factory where equipment, cars, tools, packaging or any other things are made. The mechanized facilities and assembly lines are interesting for students to learn about the production process, how raw materials are utilized and how workers use them to make the final product.
Eco-adventure Field Trip
Discover the natural world is a highly important perspective in the educational sector. Students can be entertained and refreshed by trekking through untouched natural beauties to inspect local plant life and wildlife animals. This opportunity also adds to local historical factors such as early life remnants.
Farming and Gardening Field Trip
. Visiting a particular farm or garden as part of field trip will definitely help to improve the interaction of students with nature. This will also help them to have a basic idea of farming and agriculture, how crops are cultivated and maintained and also to have a deep interaction with the farming community.
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP
Virtual field trip is a guided exploration through the World Wide Web that organizes a collection of pre-screened, thematically based web pages into a structured online learning experience. This is a great opportunity provided by the advancements in technology where we can visit and explore any place or event at any convenient time without actually travelling. These trips provide the best possible experience when we are not able to actually visit a place, especially during the pandemic situation.
IMPORTANCE OF FIELD TRIP
· Field trip is one prominent factor which can bridge the gap between education and hands on experience. When students visit a place and explore every aspects of that place, they are getting first-hand experience, which is above any kind of textbook-learning.
· Interacting and working with people help them to emerge as better social animals. This will help in development of social skills of the children.
· It is a break in the routine and adventure which opens up children’s minds to new things.
· Field trips provide multisensory experiences.
· Help both children and teachers to get out of the formal context and cultivate shared experiences.
· Field trips improve the observations skills and scientific temper of children.
· Supplement and enrich the classroom learning as well as teaching.
SILENT VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Silent Valley National Park is situated in Palakkad district in Nilgiri Mountains of South Indian state Kerala. It is a one of its kind natural rainforests preserve. It was explored by Robert Wight a famous botanist in 1847. Silent Valley is associated with Mahabharata a Hindu epic. Government of India declared it a national park in 1984. In Kerala, the park is called as Sairandhrivanam in local Malayalam language as in Mahabharata Draupadi was Sairandhri during the exile period. Silent Valley is few of the uninterrupted areas of South Western Ghats rain forests and tropical wet evergreen jungle in India.
Silent Valley National Park is the heart of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. In spite of the name of the park – Silent Valley the reverberation with the voices of swarming wildlife.
The famous River Kunthi come down from the Nilgiri Mountains about a height of 2000 m over sea level and goes to the whole extent of this valley and runs down to the grounds by the dense jungle. The River Kunthi is forever crystal clear and permanent and it doesn’t get brown.
Silent Valley National Park is a small park in size but the flowering atmosphere of the park with the tall mountain peaks and many rivers passing through the wildlife park make Silent Valley a unique destination from the other wildlife sanctuaries of India.
Silent Valley National Park is located in the Nilgiri hills, has a core area of 89.52 square km. It has some rare species of flora and fauna. The visitor’s centre for park is at Sirandhri. Ambience of Silent Valley appears pretty, colorful and eye-catching due to the various species of birds.
Thathengalam camp under the Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department, Silent Valley Division carries out Nature Camps for the public. People who wish to visit the silent valley national park can stay here with special permission from the Government and Forest Department. We can have an adventurous experience of trekking through the dry deciduous forest of silent valley which leads us to the shores of Kunthipuzha. It flows through the Silent Valley National Park, and is a tributary of Thuthapuzha, which is in turn one of the main tributaries of Bharathapuzha. The view at the banks of Kunthipuzha was breath-taking but I was a bit disappointed to see the heaps of plastic wastes which were carelessly disposed in the core of this great natural habitat of hundreds of living beings.
The journey back to the camp had a check dam on its way where lots of animals including elephants and tigers frequently visit for drinking water. On the banks of this water source, we can clearly and closely observe the decaying dungs of elephants and pug marks of tigers. During the trekking we can also observe a serious condition, many invasive species, especially Chromolaena odorata, which can pose serious threat to the forest is growing alarmingly in the forest and immediate efforts should be taken to eliminate some of these species.
Mornings are often opportunities for colorful bird watching sessions. We can observe several birds, most of which are endemic. Some birds which we can observe there include Red vented bulbul, Ashy minivet, Greenish warbler, Paradise fly catcher, Purple sunbird etc. It will be an awesome experience as it provides us an opportunity to watch birds as well as to listen to their beautiful songs.
We can also visit Thathengalam-Manarkad river beach which is just a few 100 metres away fron the Sairandhri camp. The beach is a newly formed island in kunthipuzha after the flood. The river which had changed its course, created an area similar to a beach.
FLORA AND FAUNA OF SILENT VALLEY
The flora of the sanctuary is humid wet evergreen jungle having the particular category of Rain Forests. The major plants of the park are teak, Amla, Semal, rosewood along with and bamboo. According to the altitude, the vegetation can be divided in four various categories.
The hot evergreen jungles include widespread thick jungles along the mountains and valleys. The sub-tropical mountain forests have the higher altitude region whereas the temperate jungles are described by the distinct species of evergreen with a thick blocked canopy. The grasslands in the park are mostly restricted to the upper rises and peaks in the eastern division.
Silent Valley Park is known for many highly endangered species. The major animals of the park are elephant; lion-tailed macaque, tiger, gaur, leopard, wild boar, panther, Indian Civer and Sambhar.There are about 15 invertebrate’s species, 13 types of fishes and 22 kinds of amphibians. It has 26 types of mammals and 120 avifauna species and most of these species are highly endangered. One may find 11 different species of the snakes and 09 types of lizards in the sanctuary. The main birds found in the park are Indian black-crested Baza, Rufous bellied hawk eagle, Shaheen falcon, short-eared owl, penisular scops owl, great Indian hornbill, Malay bittern and Ceylon frog mouth.
The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), also known as the wanderoo, is an OldWorld monkey endemic to the Western Ghats of South India. The hair of the lion-tailed macaque is black. Its outstanding characteristic is the silver-white mane which surrounds the head from the cheeks down to its chin, which gives this monkey its German name Bartaffe - "beard ape". The hairless face is black in color.The tail is medium in length at about 25 cm, and has a black tuft at the end that is similar to a lion's tail, although this tuft is more pronounced in males than in females. The lion-tailed macaque is a rainforest dweller; it is diurnal, meaning it is active exclusively in daylight hours. It is a good climber and spends a majority of its life in the upper canopy of tropical moist evergreen forests. Silent Valley is home to the largest population of lion-tailed macaques, an endangered species of primate. Public controversy over their habitat led to the establishment of Silent Valley National Park.
Vestalis submontana is a species of damselfly belonging to the family Calopterygidae.It is endemic to the Western Ghats of India. Frederic Charles Fraser described two new subspecies Vestalis gracilis amaena and Vestalis apicalis amaena in 1929 and later gave replacement names Vestalis gracilis montana and Vestalis apicalis submontana in 1934. The type specimens were from Nilgiri mountains in Western Ghats of South India. It is similar to Vestalis apicalis and Vestalis gracilis; but the face is black and the black apex of wings much restricted, occupying only about 2·5 mm. It is not sharply defined in young males and in females. The body color is dull golden-bronzed metallic green. It is a bit smaller than the other two species. The structure of the male appendages is also different. The inferior appendages are proportionally longer than the other two species.
The Malabar barbet (Psilopogon malabaricus) is an Asian barbet native of the Western Ghats in India. It was formerly treated as a race of the crimson-fronted barbet (Psilopogon rubricapillus). It overlaps in some places with the range of the coppersmith barbet (Psilopogon haemacephala) and has a similar but more rapid call. This species is found in the Western Ghats from around Goa south to southern Kerala in moist evergreen forest mainly below 1200 m elevation. They are also found in coffee estates.
The orange minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus) is a species of bird in the cuckoo shrike family Campephagidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Nepal. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, subtropical or tropical moist low-land forest, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the scarlet minivet.
Silent valley National park is a must visit biodiversity hub for nature lovers and wildlife fanatics. Once we enter the main entrance of Sairandhri, we will be exposed to dense and wild jungles where the most endemic of fauna as well as the most exciting adventures await. It is an entry to a totally new world, a relief from the chaos and stress of modern days and brings peace and relaxation to the mind, body and soul. Getting to know and experience the nature closer and understanding the immense treasure the nature keeps within it will be a life time experience. Silent valley is the home for large number of endemic species, the sight of which give us a great insight of the wonderful world in which we live. We can actually get to see how closely the different organisms in environment are associated and compliment the survival of one another. The human invasion to these places and the anthropological activities which are detrimental to these living beings can also be vividly noticed. Once we visit this place, we will change ourselves and become concerned about every anti-environment activities which we have done so far and we might be doing in the future. We will feel indebted to the mother Earth for providing us so much natural resources and will also feel guilty for carelessly doing deliterious activities. A visit to the Silent Valley will definitely prove beneficial to each and every individual and will also change our attitude towards nature. We will realise how we behove to protect the nature and need to be responsible individuals, promoting the preservation and sustainablilty of environment.
The trip to Silent Valley National Park has provided me with immensly valuable experience. As a Post Graduate in Zoology, it was a great opportunity to be close to nature and wildlife. The experience of trekking through the deciduous forest and reaching the core region of the national park was an unforgettable experience which I could cherish all my life time. Unlike reading or learning about the wildlife, actually visiting their habitat and watching and hearing them was totally new to me and provided the first hand experience. Bird watching and identifying them taxonomically and comparing their features and habits was really blissful.
This trip has also made me more concerned and conscious about the protection and preservation of mother nature. Getting to know closely about the hundreds of organisms and their habitat, I feel cautious of the activities of humans that are continuosly harming the lives and habitats of these poor beings. The huge number of endemic species in Silent valley are facing many threats and are becoming endangered and this will, for sure, affect the ecological balance. The fast growing invasive species are also to be taken care of. Serious efforts are to be made to reduce their growth.
As a prospective teacher, it is my responsibility to make myself as well as my students aware of the large and wonderful wildlife around us and also to be responsible towards maintaining the sustainability and survival of the resources which nature provide for their survival.