Students aged 12-14 from five schools in Tamil Nadu learned about mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds during a two-day awareness-raising camp run by Dr. Balaji of the OMCAR Foundation with MFF India.
From Dr.Vedharajan Balaji, IUCN CEC member, recipient of 2012 CEC Chair's Youth Award
MFF India, in partnership with IUCN member, OMCAR Foundation, brought together 50 students and seven teachers for a two-day awareness camp on marine and coastal ecosystems. The camp was held 27 and 28 November 2013 at OMCAR’s Palk Bay Center. The students (between the ages of 12 and 14 years) represented five schools in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.
Topics included mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds. These lessons were enriched by field trips to the Thanjavur beach, the Muthupet mangroves, and a mangrove nursery. Ecological research techniques and the variety of underwater equipment used to collect related data was presented to the students. A diverse sample of gastropods, fish and plankton found along the Palk Bay coast was displayed for the children to examine.
At the end of the camp students passionately discussed and committed to protecting the coastal environment, sharing their observations on threats to, and means of preventing the unnecessary destruction of coastal habitats.
- Devi, age 14, said waste was becoming a large problem in her coastal village, and something as simple as raising awareness and informing her neighbors of the right ways in which to discard waste, could help solve the problem in the long term. She promised to speak up about this to her fellow villagers.
- Surindar, age 13, said it was ironic that we are destroying the very coastal and marine habitats that protect us and provide us with so many services, particularly when not so long ago they protected us from the effects of the tsunami.
Dr.V.Balaji., M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D.,