Conversations with a Naturalist: Exploring Nature’s Wonders

It was a great pleasure to invite J.N. Prasad, a renowned naturalist and bird watcher, to our Ganigarapalya school. He eagerly accepted the invitation and was enthusiastic about talking to our students about birds and nature.

He gave his talk on April 1st. The children had just finished their final exams and were enjoying a relaxed atmosphere, engaging in fun activities. Therefore, J.N. Prasad’s engaging presentation on various aspects of nature, including birds and biodiversity, was well received. About 40 students from 4th to 7th grade eagerly gathered to listen to him.

Prasad began his talk by asking the children about the birds they observed in their surroundings. This prompted enthusiastic responses, and the children listed many birds they were familiar with. He inquired if they still saw sparrows in their neighborhood and explained their scarcity due to habitat loss.

Similarly, he discussed other birds’ dependencies on specific elements. For instance, the Oriental Magpie Robin needs leaf litter to find worms, Barbets require old trees to build nest holes, and caterpillars feed on curry leaves, illustrating many such dependencies in nature.

The children listened with rapt attention. Prasad then projected slides of various birds and played their calls. This was both informative and entertaining, as the children could relate to some of the calls they had heard. Prasad connected the call of the White-cheeked Barbet to a story in Kannada, noting that the call sounds like the familiar Kannada word “kotru,” meaning “he gave.” This made it easier for the children to remember the bird calls. They were also excited to learn the names of many different birds. Prasad shared the fascinating story of how the Koel uses the crow’s nest to lay its eggs, leaving the crow to raise its chicks, which resemble those of the crow.

At the end of the session, a few students gave heartfelt votes of thanks to Mr. Prasad, expressing how much they enjoyed his session and how learning about their surroundings this way was more engaging than from textbooks. They requested him to visit often and give more sessions on nature. We sincerely hope he will.

Thank you, Mr. J.N. Prasad, for taking the time to share your knowledge with the students of Ganigarapalya.

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