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Accent on conservation of biodiversity

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PROPAGANDA: Students at a workshop on saving biodiversity stage a skit to explain loss of waterbodies and its effect on frogs. —
PROPAGANDA: Students at a workshop on saving biodiversity stage a skit to explain loss of waterbodies and its effect on frogs. —

R.Sujatha

Day-long workshop on training and dissemination of information about biodiversity conservation

CHENNAI: “When we were in Pallikaranai I have seen lots of frogs. There were also snakes there,” an excited B. Nandini, a Standard VII student, recalled at a workshop on conserving biodiversity.

Nandini’s family has since then moved to the city and now she says she waits for the monsoon, hoping to spot them.

Eighteen children from two schools in the city participated on Friday in a daylong workshop on training and dissemination of information about biodiversity conservation in their communities.

Training programme

The children of class VII from RKM Sarada Vidyalaya of T. Nagar and Sathya Matriculation School of Purasawalkam were part of a training programme jointly conducted by representatives of the Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants and International Zoo Educators Association.

At the event held in Adyar Poonga, the participants composed songs about conserving biodiversity and developed a skit to explain how loss of habitat had affected amphibians. The skit explained how waterbodies were lost to development and how an entire food chain was disturbed by society.

Frog conservation

Resource person and Zoo Educators Association member Jessie Jayakaran provided education material on frog conservation that the participating students would use in activity sessions later in the school and in the community.

“For the past year we created awareness about saving biodiversity. The period of January 2009 to December 2010 has been designated as ‘Countdown 2010’ to saving biodiversity,” she said.

The children were each given a book on the amphibians inhabiting the earth and a calendar to record their activities for the next two years.

Agenda for children

The children have been provided an agenda: they must get as many signatures from friends, classmates and members of the community as they can and hand them to the District Forest Officer at the end of the two-year period.

The workshop on Friday began with children tying rakhi with an image of frog to express their solidarity with the species. “Then they learn to care and then to share their concern about the loss of habitat,” Ms. Jayakaran said.

K. Cyril Rufus, co-ordinator of Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants, who is stationed at the Adyar Poonga, explained to the children that frogs had lost their habitat to the greed of humans who covered waterbodies to build concrete structures. The event was organised as part of World Environment Day.

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