Caring for Creation

  |   Posted: February 01, 2021

A Compassion church partner in Thailand is helping young people learn to conserve the natural beauty that surrounds their community.

Naphat smiles at the camera

“I remember that I used to see wild animals, like deer, come by my house in my village when I was little,” says Karen, a Compassion-assisted teenager. “But I don’t see them anymore because there are more people who hunt them.”

Karen lives in a village in western Thailand that lies within the Mae Moei National Park. Growing up, she was surrounded by a rugged mountain range, a dry evergreen forest and endless types of plants. The national park is also home to wildlife, including boar, deer and more. Nature has always been part of Karen’s life, as well as the lives of the other children in her village.

Sadly, many forested areas in Thailand have been destroyed over the years by illegal logging. More and more animals are becoming extinct due to overhunting and loss of habitat. And many children living in Thailand do not understand the importance of environmental inheritance because there isn’t as much left for them to see. This situation is becoming the reality in Karen’s village too. But there is hope.

Oscar stands with friends

The Compassion partner church in Karen’s community wants to make sure the children in its program, as well as future generations, understand the importance of caring for the creation that surrounds them. So, as a part of its youth development program, the church runs a forestry conservation program in collaboration with Thailand’s National Park rangers.

Once or twice a year, the church runs a camp for young people to meet with park rangers to learn about forest conservation and wildlife preservation. Teens learn how to observe trees and water patterns, how to build dams, how to protect wildlife and more.

“I really like the program about conservation,” says Arporn, another Compassion-assisted girl in the conservation program. “It helps me understand the forest and understand my home environment.”

Not only are these teenagers learning about their home environment, but they’re also making a difference. Once a month, the teenagers and center staff inspect the forest in their area, record information and make a report for the forestry officers. In the dry season, they create firebreaks. In the rainy season, they build dams. They are making sure that their environment is preserved for themselves and for future generations to enjoy.

Oscar sits under a tree

“I hope to see wildlife come back again like I used to see when I was little,” says Karen. “I want other young people from the city to come here and learn with us about our forest, so they can learn about conservation and how to protect our forests in Thailand for the next generation.”

While the conservation program is offered to both boys and girls at this Compassion partner church, today we want to specifically celebrate the girls who participate. Around the world, girls often have fewer opportunities in science and technology, but here, in a small village in Thailand, girls are stepping up. They are learning about their environment and taking steps to care for it. They are making a difference in this world.

And the best part? This is just one story of girls making a difference in the realm of science and technology. There are millions more.