Monday, January 22, 2007

Building Bridges

On Thursday January 18, 22 students of classes IV and V of Shiv Niketan school gathered at the natural environs of the Delhi Zoo to hear Katha’s popular children’s story writer Geeta Dharmarajan’s The Magical Web Bridge.

Katha chose zoo environs as the backdrop of the event to tell the children about the resident and migratory birds at the zoo apart from highlighting the beautiful story that builds friendship bridges.

Storyteller Harpreet Kaur held the students spell bound while telling them the story of Baya bird who builds a nest for the mother of his children. Weaving the nest, the Baya bird puts a little prayer into every beautiful green he could find under the sun. But the Baya bird who lived on this part of the city longed to make friends with birds that lived on the other side of the sea.

One day the Baya meets a large spider and discusses his plan. Soon the two start work together and in a year’s time they build a beautiful bridge for all to see. Soon many of their friends join in to help Baya and the Spider. One must pick up this book to know how the Baya achieved his dream.

Conducting the workshop, the storyteller asked the children if they had seen any nests. Or what kinds of birds were visible on their window sills? And why did the birds migrate? And so on.

At the end of the storytelling the children were asked to portray their imagination. Ishan Banerjee of Class V, Shivaned Khedan of Class IV and Raj Ratan Patel of Class V bagged the first, second and third prizes respectively. Katha congratulates their creative work! You can see their works displayed here.

The fabulously illustrated book by Sonali Biswas vividly captures the spirit and joy of friendship and teamwork.

Making an entry into the zoo, the Delhi Zoo official Mr Riyaz Khan gave description of the birds that migrate to India all the way from Europe and Central Asia during cold months. Sharing information about the birds, Mr Khan said that the birds came to India in groups and settle in Bharatpur and Delhi Zoo. But due to scarcity of water in Bharatpur this time most species nested in Delhi Zoo. The Zoo is flocking with heronries of cackling Painted Storks, huge cotton white Pelicans and Spoonbills. The dabbling ducks, which were seen at the scene of the activity (near the pond), were Common teal, pintails and common Pochards and Shovelers.

Mr Khan provided the group with interesting tit bits on bird migration, feeding habits, identification tips and their behaviour pattern.

All in all, a wonderful time with nature.


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