The Sahyadri Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation workshop
The aim of the training is to empower educators to teach about freshwater biodiversity and its conservation that can be practiced with their local audience in the Western Ghats area and to demonstrate innovative teaching and learning techniques designed to change human behaviour for the better.
A one day training programme on The Sahyadri Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation by ZOO Outreach, Coimbatore was held on 20th of November 2013 at Honnavar located in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka. The overall objective of the training was to impart knowledge about the status of the Sahyādri Freshwater Biodiversity and to bring about attitudinal change among students, locals and other target groups towards conservation of the species.
The workshop was held at BuDa, a center for folklore research and documentation located in Honnavar in the Uttara Kannada region. The team at buDa folklore has their roots in education, anthropology and community development. Apart from inviting participants personally, the workshop was also advertised in local newspapers and therefore participants hailed from various background including social workers, environmentalists, lecturers, students, researchers, etc belonging to an age group of 20 – 60 years.
The workshop was lead by Dr. B.A. Daniel of Zoo Outreach assited by Ms. Abhisheka Krishnagopal, Karnataka State focal point for Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation programme
The programme started with an informal inaugural session and introductions. The workshop began by introducing participants to the assessment tools. This was followed by various activities and discussion and covered topics such as facts about Western Ghats, geography, freshwater types, water footprints, kingdoms of life, Freshwater flora and fauna, Species status, threats and conservation and so on. The participants were quite aware of their surroundings and the local biodiversity. They all shared their knowledge about the local aquatic fauna and interacted well with the resource people. They expressed concerns about invasive species and river pollution caused by the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Though few female teachers were hesitant to participate in the drawing activity and the social workers shied away from displaying their art work, the group was very active and highly appreciative of the workshop. Post lunch more participants joined the workshop as they heard positive feedback from the existing participants. Towards the end of the workshop participants gave their feed back in writing as well as orally and one of the participants even composed a poem on spot. Workshop ended with participants committing to spread the message of Freshwater Biodiversity. All participants were issued certificates and a manual along with educational packets with masks booklet, placard and posters on fishes and Odonates of the Western Ghats.
Though it was a successful workshop, one day workshop was too short for the participants to get familiar with each other and break the ice. As a result of which few female social workers and young teachers did not express themselves in front of elders.