Environmental Education Exposure Visit for FATA Students and Teachers
An Environmental Education exposure visit of FATA students & teachers to Pakistan Forest Institute of Peshawar, Khanpur Water Reservoir, Abbottabad, Nathiagali, Bhurban, Murree and Islamabad was organized to enhance their knowledge about wildlife, forests, environmental issues and national heritage. In consultation with the Directorate of Education, FATA a total of 20 students, 5 each from Environmental Club Mohmand and Khyber Agencies and 5 each position holding students from Kurram and Aurakzai Agencies along with 2 teachers each from eight agencies were invited through Education Directorate FATA.
The main objective of the visit was to provide the participants orientation and to have them first-hand information about national heritage, natural history of Pakistan and development exposure. The visit was also an opportunity to observe and learn the best environmental practices for adopting and replicating at the local level in FATA for sustainable development of the area.
On arrival at Peshawar the group was taken to PFI Museum where the Curator of the Museum gave briefing about various parts of the museum covering forest types, wildlife distribution, sericulture section and wood utilization section. On the same day, the group travelled from Peshawar to Khanpur Water Reservoir to observe and discuss water levels, sedimentation, water pollution, vegetation around the reservoir and watershed issues. The group further travelled to Shimla hills and observed the forests and its use for tourism and environmental issues associated with forest tourism. At the end of the day in a session, the team shared their observations on environmental issues like land pollution, forest fire and erosion.
The next day the group visited Ayubia National Park at Nathiagali and had a walk to Lalazar Wildlife Park. Where the Wildlife Officer provided briefing to the group about basics of the Ayubia National Park and Lalazar Wildlife Park and introduced the participants to various plants, animal and birds’ species and conservation regimes. The group was given a transect walk inside the park and taken to the wildlife museum to show them the stuffed animals and birds. In the evening, the team was given a chance to walk on Murre Mall Road and to observe environmental issues arising from tourism. On the final day the team reached to Islamabad and visited various places at Islamabad including Pakistan Natural History Museum, Heritage Museum, Pakistan Monument, Faisal Mosque and Centaurus Towers where the group was able to gain knowledge about different natural resources of Pakistan, history and cultures.
At the end of the tour, the students and accompanying teachers were given a chance to present their views. The members gave views about the knowledge they gained during the visit, expressed views about the arrangements and also gave suggestions. The participants liked the ways of learning especially discussions about day’s reflections during evening debriefing sessions and time to time presentations during the visit. The time management and overall logistic arrangements were appreciated by the participants. The suggestions given by the participants included recommendation for similar visits for other agencies students and increasing number of tour days.
Secretary, Planning and Development Department, FATA, Mr. Muhammad Zubair Asghar Qureshi was the driving force behind this exposure visit. When the concept was shared with the Secretary he was pleased to authorize a formal approval and directed the concerned officials to organized this exposure visit.
The Environment Cell, P&D Department, FATA Secretariat in collaboration of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Government of Switzerland and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Pakistan is implementing a project Consolidation/Institutionalization of Environment Cell in FATA.
The main objective of the collaboration is to build on, consolidate and institutionalize the work done in the on-going phase of FATA Environmental Cell Project by providing technical assistance to and facilitate the FATA Secretariat and its line directorates in contributing to building productive and resilient local communities in FATA and through institutionalizing environmental sustainability. This visit was one of the activities chalked out under this initiative.