Eco Club Activites 2018-19
“It is inconceivable that humankind, with all its noble achievements, can stay indifferent to the destruction of bio-sphere any more. We must imperatively change our attitudes and agree to live modestly and realistically – all for the sake of the future- which is not ours but which we have borrowed from future generations.
Humans are running the environmental equivalent of deficit budget, which is only sustained by plundering our capital base. Over exploiting fisheries, overgrazing pasture until it becomes desert, destroying forests and polluting our oceans and atmosphere”.
With the above concepts in mind, volunteers of Vanodaya approached the schools to catch the young students at an impressionable age. Eco Club is one of the growing activities for Vanodaya.
From a just one school since the idea germinated, the branches widened to three schools this year. We zeroed on Chottanahalli, Dhangur and Byadarahalli Government High Schools this time to expose children to nature and instill an awareness, and the need for sustaining biosphere for our own benefits. The target group was about fifty ninth standard students from each school, as the 10th standard students would have more responsibility towards studies and we did not want to burden them.
The event started in July ‘18, a day in a month spanning over 5 months. The students were segregated into 6 groups with name of animal or birds of their choice. The students were first introduced to the complex Eco-system through a PPT on varieties of Flora and Fauna, types of forests in India and Karnataka, importance of forests in maintaining ecological balance, a video on Nagarahole Sanctuary, followed by an anthem. To sustain the interest, we assigned them to write an essay on forest or draw animals of their choice.
Next we introduced them to Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, to which they had immediate connect and concern, as these schools -are on the periphery of CWLS. The species endemic to CWLS – Grizzled Giant Squirrel, the need for protecting this endangered species and pride we need to feel was - emphasized. A video on river Cauvery was shown. This time the groups had to choose a tree, draw it and a write up of its property and usefulness was the task given.
The following month they were all taken out in groups for field activity of birding, through which they were able to identify the birds by size, colors, call and habitat and their role in weeding out pests and insects and also how they provide ecosystem services such as seed dispersal. . We advised them to note down the birds they were able to watch in their surroundings with date and time of the activity in the coming days.
|Bird watching activity @ Dhanagur High School|
In the fourth month, it was a proactive video on ‘Nali-Kali’, where the group learnt about the basic essentials for survival like water, food and abode. How much space, water and food are required for each species of herbivores, like Elephants, chitals, Big Carnivores like Leopard and Bears for their sustenance was discussed. The impact of Forest Fire viz., deliberate, negligence and vengeance were shared. The increasing man-animal conflict as forests are encroached upon and the mitigating measures were discussed.
|Student interaction during the Nali Kali activity|
Finally, a recap of the previous sessions and a documentary on tigers – “Truth About Tigers” to round it off. They had by then assimilated enough to understand that Tiger count is a good indicator of the forest cover. The harm of overgrazing by livestock in the forest or the havoc fire causes to the habitat was intensely shown. This was signed off with prizes to five students from each school who had participated and performed best in various activities. An identity card as Cauvery Eco Club member and Vanodaya Logo was given to them as recognition. The programme concluded on 2nd Feb 2019.
|Prize distribution @ ChottanahaLLi High School|
At the end of the day, it was an amazing response from some of the students, the maturity they showed in the essays and the subtle details revealed that their concern for nature was genuine. If shaped properly they would be assets for conservation in future. Some of them with genuine care, called the department or Vanodaya, when they noticed fires in the forest. Few other valuable information was gathered. The officials in the schools were also very gracious in allowing us to do this activity. One school deserves special mention here. Dhangur, with a very dedicated taskmaster in its Head Mistress had an Eco Club of their own. The school had several activities under this, and in collaboration with the Forest department, had taken the students for a nature camp in Bheemeshwari.
|Take Home activities by students|
The willing students with the written approval from their parents were invited for an extended birding session with Vanodaya during their summer holidays.
Much of the students enthusiasm were gratifying as they eagerly awaited our arrival every month. Their concern was serious for nature, as could be made out by their probing questions.
For the volunteers of Vanodaya it was a very contented experience of sharing knowledge and doing our - bit for conservation. This activity is part of the larger core awareness activity that Vanodaya engages at all levels of the society.