When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.- John Muir
Almost invisible to the untrained eyes, the giant wood spider sits still in its immaculately designed web waiting for its prey. The common Mormon, a beautiful black and red butterfly flutters in the vicinity from flower to flower sipping nectar; looking happy! The children shriek in unison, appalled at the thought of the butterfly getting stuck in the web and eaten by the spider. Their instinct is to save the pretty delicate Mormon.
We are on a nature trail at the Karnala Bird Sanctuary – A sensorial and wonder-filled experience!
Children have a natural affinity for outdoor activities It is amazing how young children observe a variety of things around them. At such trails, we ask questions & urge them to ‘sense’ their surroundings.
Though considered easy by avid trekkers, for many of us the trek to Karnala fort was a test of endurance. 1500 feet above Mumbai, Karnala fort surrounded by forest, is home to a rich biodiversity.
During the 5 hours trek to the fort and back, we stopped to observe daddy long legs dancing, we watched the head of a viper sticking out of a hole on the ground, we touched the skin of a toad to understand difference between a toad and a frog, we watched wooly caterpillars crawling, we learnt that not all ants live in ant hills, some stitch leaves while others build nests like the Crematogaster ants nest we saw.
The trek also saw some subtle team building in process among children. Friends were looking out for one another – challenging, motivating & helping one another climb the steep fort.
Finally, the trek taught us to appreciate the inter-connectedness of life on Earth. Considering a spider to be the ‘bad guy’ was a natural instinct. Perhaps stemming from the fact that our focus remains on how harmful or harmless a creature is to man; no mention is generally made of the beneficial aspects; or of the fact that frogs could perhaps be better pest controllers than the best pesticide humans could manufacture!