Culture for kids in Dubai
Environment and adventure for kids in the UAE
Spotlight on …
Camels, Desert & Dates
Cuddling isn’t the first thought that springs to mind when you come across a camel. For most expats, a close encounter with these allegedly aggressive (biting, spitting, stamping) mammals is approached with wariness or fear. It is misconceptions such as these that a new outdoor education centre, Desert Ranch, is aiming to dispel with its ‘camel cuddling’ programme. ‘Camels aren’t aggressive and they don’t bite or spit,’ says Mark Barsby, the trainer at Desert Ranch. ‘They’re incredibly friendly and loving.’
‘It’s amazing how many people live in the Gulf, yet so few have ever come close to a camel,’ says Caroline Green, community relations coordinator for Desert Ranch. Yet these desert-dwelling mammals have played such an important role in Arab culture – so much so that there are more than 160 words for camel in the Arabic language.
A 2.4sq km space hosting 11 camels, 17 goats, two donkeys and seven ducks, this desert classroom provides a platform for learning all things ‘local’ and is targeting educational institutions with its programme of local and ecological activities.
‘Our aim is to use our desert site, its inhabitants and environment to provide educational activities, which fit into the school’s particular curriculum and learning,’ says Caroline. There are opportunities for art and mapping activities, as well as educating kids about the economical and practical issues of keeping animals and about the desert
ecosystems, while Desert Ranch’s date plantation is a further teaching tool, helping little ones understand not just where dates come from, but how long it takes for a tree to mature and the uses of different parts of the tree.
With plans to eventually become a venue and resource for clubs like Brownies, Scouts and The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, this outdoor classroom is loaded with the real luxuries of local life.
Interested? For more info or to arrange a site meeting, contact Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org; 04 832 7171.
Time Out Dubai,