For S. Alexander, a class VIII student of Chennai School, Kamaraj Avenue, Adyar, a stroll down the lawns of Tholkappiya Poonga (Adyar Eco Park) was enough to make a decision on his career. He says he wants to become a scientist and churn out quality research papers that would enrich the people's understanding of coastal ecology and wetland conservation.
“I have started learning more about our environment and the need for conservation here at the Eco Park. I know this place was polluted a few years ago. Now it is my source of inspiration,” he said on Thursday.
Alexander was one of the 200 students selected for the first summer camp organised for Chennai School students by Adyar Poonga, a company fully owned by the State government. The camp, an interactive training programme, has been funded by the Department of Environment and Adyar Poonga. The programme commenced on Tuesday and would be on till May 28.
The students got to interact with experts in the Eco Park and were able to roam around freely experiencing a wide range of its uniqueness. Some were watching colonies of Little Grebes pursuing fish; some were found gathering knowledge about the species found in the coastal wetland and how tidal influx has an impact.
“The trainers here are teaching us about the importance of flora, fauna and water quality in the Eco Park,” said S.Manikandan, another student.
His friend Mohammad Sadiq Oli says that they were being taught how to assess the impact of eco-restoration of the coastal wetland ecosystem.
“We have understood the importance of vertebrates, invertebrates, surface and groundwater quality in this ecosystem,” he adds.
The group of students would also get opportunity to spot new species of birds and fishes that have made the coastal wetland their habitat, said one of the trainers.
The participants of the camp have already been able to spot painted storks that were looking for perch in the Eco Park, she added. The students would also attend lectures by experts in wetland conservation at the education centre of the Eco Park.
The students are also allowed to play heritage games such as Pallanguli with seeds of indigenous plants. This would enrich their knowledge of indigenous flora and fauna, said the trainer.
“The camp is a source of entertainment for us. We are also learning the importance of solid waste management and wetlands of Chennai,” said R.Geetha, another student.
The 200 students who are participating in the training programme are expected to play a role in disseminating information on coastal ecosystem to others in their school, a trainer said.
Keywords: Adyar Eco Park