Dennis Marcus Mathew

A unique environmental education programme with thrust on conservation

Schoolchildren make documentary on wetland conservation

Wetland education module brought out

ALAPPUZHA: Student-participants of ‘Jalapaadom,’ a unique environmental education programme approved by the State government and being implemented by the Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), are at it again.

Jalapaadom’s Wetlands Study Centre at the St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, one of the 50 such centres in the district headquarters that have been undertaking various conservation activities with special focus on the Vembanad Wetlands, has filmed a documentary on the environment, covering relevant issues of Vembanad Lake.

Twenty students of the school led by teacher Simi Varghese were involved in the making of the movie, which had its script and direction handled by the students themselves.

Filmed as a travelogue through Kuttanad and on and alongside Vembanad Lake, the narrative focuses on interactions and interviews with farmers, farm labourers, clam collectors and fishermen and goes into the livelihood activities of stakeholders of the lake and pollution threats.

The Thanneermukkom Barrage and its role in regulating the lake’s ecology is also analysed in the documentary, titled ‘Neerpozhikkum Neerthadam,’ according to ATREE programme officer Jojo T.D. and Programme Coordinator Latha Bhaskar.

A travelogue

The 45-minute venture, Mr. Jojo said, will be used to create awareness among students and the general public on the issues threatening Vembanad Lake and on ways to preserve natural heritage.

The documentary was screened from 3 p.m. at St. Joseph’s GHS auditorium here on Thursday. K.C. Venugopal, MLA, was the chief guest. This is not the first that students who are part of ‘Jalapaadom’ have taken the initiative to do their part for nature.

Fish count

Last year, they led a fish count in Vembanad Lake apart from bringing out a literary journal, also titled Jalapaadom, which had articles written mostly by the students themselves and a few by their teachers.

The programme had also seen the first-of-its-kind wetland education module titled ‘Jalapaadom Neerthada Padanasahayi’ being brought out by ATREE to help students understand the wetlands better.