Harrow International School from Bangkok are regulars here at MRVR Outdoor Education Centre. This month they came to visit in order to complete geography and development studies that they are doing at school in preparation for their exams.
Whilst here the students were able to take advantage of our varied fieldwork sites, starting near the source of the local Muang Ngam River to take measurements such as gradient, velocity and depth of the river in order to compare it to another site further down river. They were able to collect and measure bedload samples whilst simultaneously sampling lychees offered to them for free by some of the kind-hearted local fruit pickers nearby. The student group took a short drive to the nearest town called Fang, where they were able to spend their time looking at the various buildings, businesses, and traffic, to collate data towards their Urban Studies so as they could compare it to some of the smaller local villages they also had the opportunity to visit. After they had collected enough data they could head back to the resort to escape the stifling heat and threatening thunder clouds, and to continue studies in the air-conditioned classrooms at the Centre.
Phu Muen is the name of an area of very natural looking forest. The students used it to practice the techniques needed to look at soil quality, such as water filtration and plant cover. They then compared this to another site, which is used for the growth of local crops such as rice and maize. This active example of shifting cultivation not only allowed them to practice the techniques, but also see first-hand the stark impact agricultural methods have on the habitats and environments in the area. However all of this subsistence farming was brought in to context when they were able to visit one of the largest orange orchards in the area. Here they were able to view the scale of resources needed for such a commercial set-up, and compare the farming techniques involved. It wasn’t all studies though during free time the students made good use of the basketball court and swimming pool on site, as well as the evening when the students let their hair down and took part in various activities set up for them. A fantastic example of work hard, play hard and I am sure there will be some good exam results in the future.