“I spent close to one week to collect 52 shells, which was the biggest collection in the school. After me it was Sumitra and then Ragini. It was a little difficult to collect shells, because the bigger ones only come in with the fishing nets, but I made sure I asked my father every day if he had any shells in his catch,” Chandra from Class VII at N. Jeevarathinam Government Middle School in Veerampattinam excitedly explains.

The shells are easy to collect, but the starfish and the seahorse are not so common. These can only be found in deep sea nets and they are caught by mistake, Keerthana explains.

Enthusiastic collection

Every student in the school was given the task to collect as many shells as possible. While this may have been relatively simple for a school where the majority of the students come from the fishing village of Veerampattinam, the enthusiasm these students was infectious.

What was even more interesting was the way in which they described the shells that they collected.

The fisher people’s relationship to the ocean is very important. It is for this reason that the school decided to teach the students about biodiversity by making them collect and sort shells, Janardhanan, teacher in charge of the National Green Corps in the school explained.

Now, we have planned to explain the importance of these shells and the role they play in the ecosystem. Every year this school, along with several others, conducts a program through the National Environmental Awareness Campaign on bio-diversity conservation.

This year, 57 schools are participating in the programme, with each one having a different set of activities. The schools will have one day of field visit and activity-based learning to help them assimilate the information.

Funding

The funding for the program is given by the Central Government through the CPR Environment Education Centre and conducted by the Puducherry State Training Centre, Department of Education, Officer on Special Duty of the STC N. Krishna said.

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