Floral beauty at Chiang Mai’s
34th Flower Festival
One of the flower covered floats in the parade.
The 34th annual Flower Festival began early on Saturday morning,
February 6, with opening remarks by the Governor of Chiang Mai, Amornphan
Nimanant, and a parade of 32 flower covered floats representing 25 groups.
perform in the parade for the Chiang Mai Flower Festival.
The highly popular Flower Festival takes place every year on the first
Saturday of February, with tourists and residents alike flocking to city
streets to view the parade of colorful, flower covered floats, traditional
dancers and the Miss Flower 2010 contestants.
The parade route along Nawarat Bridge and Tha Pae was heavily crowded and
the area was closed off. The parade ended at Nong Buak Haad Park and flower
covered floats vied for the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Prize .
Doi Saket district’s float won the floral beauty contest, while Hang Dong
district won the creative category. The See Ma Herb Company won the
traditional culture prize in floats.
Wanwipha Kalyanakul, 19 year old native of Chiang Rai and a first -year
student at the Faculty of Nursing at Chiang Mai University won the Miss
Flower crown. The first runner up was Chollada Kaewnamchua and the second-
runner up went to Matchima Suthana.
In the International Miss Flower contest, with 22 contestants from differing
countries, the winner was Stacy Holden from the U.S.A. Lee Hui from China
won the first runner up and the second runner- up was Eva Seamond from
France. All of the International winners attend the exchange program at
Chiang Mai University.
A lotus blossom float in the Flower Festival
Dancers garbed in hill tribe costumes perform in
the parade on February 6.
Reaching Out to the Community
Students from Nongplaman
village primary school rejoice as they reach the top of Doi Inthanon on
their field trip sponsored by Prem Visiting Schools Program.
By Susan Kieliszewski
The Prem Center Visiting Schools Program at Prem Tinsulanonda
International School had the pleasure of extending a helping hand to their
neighbors at Nongplaman village primary school recently.
field test water at a mountain stream on Doi Inthanon
The Visiting Schools Program (VSP) is a department within The Prem Center
that hosts student groups visiting Northern Thailand. VSP facilitates
outdoor education, community service, team building, and many other
activities for youths aged from nine to eighteen years of age. International
schools from countries all over the world stay on the Prem Center campus
while fulfilling curriculum requirements, which increasingly include
community service projects.
For Nongplaman project, Prem staff and students and Nongplaman teachers
raised funds in many ways, including the design, printing and selling of
special postcards, VSP staff member Becca Haack raised funds from sponsors
of her marathon running campaign. All contributed to enable thirty-seven
Year Six and Year Seven students to participate in a special two-day
environmental education trip to Doi Inthanon.
VSP was able to provide Nongplaman School with an overnight trip that
included accommodation, meals, outdoor activities, science lessons and
transportation. The trip to Doi Inthanon exposed Thai students to sites and
out-of-school activities that the school administration cannot provide.
Over their hot bowls of ‘jok’ early Tuesday morning, Nongplaman students
were delighted to feel the brisk air flowing over them. Upon reaching the
summit many students, who had never experienced the sights and climate of
Doi Inthanon, expressed their great surprise at the drop in temperature.
Needless to say this didn’t prevent them from wading into the icy waters
that run along the mountain’s slope.
Students searched for macro-invertebrates, and tested water quality at
different locations to assess the effects altitude and distance from sources
can make. Students used measurements and site analysis to determine causes
of slope depletion on the ever-changing mountainside. The teachers were
particularly pleased to see the students applying classroom lessons from
mathematics and science to outside experiences. Discussions based around
farming methods in cool climates were also accompanied by a visit to the
local Karen hill tribe village. Students were provided with activity
booklets to record their data for future reference. VSP staff members were
on hand to lead activities along with written and group reflections that
allowed the students to vocalize what the trip meant to them and the
significance of our ecological environment. Students don’t often have the
opportunity to leave the four walls of the classroom and their teachers are
now planning to follow-up the two-day trip with further water testing at
river sites near their school.
Local Thai schools are usually open to community service projects,
particularly in the more rural locations. Support given from international
schools, through Prem’s Visiting Schools Program, has included building
classrooms and bathroom stalls, painting, providing stationary, donating
shoes and student scholarships. VSP has worked with public schools in Chiang
Dao, Mae Hong Son, Mae Malai, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Samoeng. With the lack
of government funding available to schools, particularly for extra-curricular
excursions, VSP wants to provide Thai schools with more than just on-site
projects by sponsoring annual trips for underfunded Thai schools in the
In the future VSP plans to continue offering low-cost and supplemented trips
for local and underprivileged schools. The VSP staff would like to thank
everyone who chose to sponsor students during the fundraisers and volunteer
support staff during the trip. The Nongplaman project would not have been a
success without community support!
Bike for Elephants first ever event raised 250,000 baht
The Bike for Elephants tour
raised 250,000 baht for the Bring the Elephant Home group to help elephants
live in nature.
By Antoinette van de Water of Bring the Elephant
During the first weekend of February 2010 Bring the Elephant Home
held its first Bike for Elephants event. A two day adventure and fun filled
tour through Mae Tang valley, in Chiang Mai province. With the event, Bring
the Elephant Home was able to raise 250,000 baht for the Elephant Nature
Park and create more awareness about the plight of Thai elephants. The money
will be used to extend the Park, to make sure more elephants can have a
natural life in the future.
Bike for Elephants was joined by 50 Thai and international participants and
volunteers, ages ranging from 2 years to 64 years old and many different
nationalities. All with the same purpose: to create a better future for Thai
elephants. Besides two days of biking (81 km in total) the bikers camped in
the Elephant Nature Park, with campfires, local music, many inspiring
stories and of course elephant bathing and feeding. Most participants live
in Thailand, but for many this was the first time to observe free roaming
elephants living in family groups. The combination of working hard during
the bike ride, spending time together with elephants in nature and making a
difference for Thai elephants created a very positive atmosphere. Everybody
agreed that if they can, they will participate again next year.
If you are interested in Bike for Elephants 2011, please keep an eye on:
50 tired bikers really
enjoyed the fundraising journey.