Student initiative to explore biodiversity (AKA: e-Biodiversity)


Project sites: Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra, India.

Project Duration: 1 year. (2023-24)

Brief:

Since its inception in 1992, Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) has been a stalwart in biodiversity conservation across the Konkan region, with citizen engagement at the heart of our initiatives. Our commitment led us to launch the e-Biodiversity project, aimed at fostering biodiversity awareness and involvement among students.
We are delighted to announce that the project has not only met but surpassed its goals and objectives. All of the key activities have been successfully completed.
Our team faced challenges initially as the project encountered delays due to prolonged and intense heatwaves, a consequence of the delayed monsoon. The timeline for camera trapping and training activities was significantly impacted. Nonetheless, our team swiftly adapted, rescheduling and recovering missed activities to ensure the project stayed on track and achieved its objectives successfully.
The camera traps recorded stunning images of the wildlife around the schools. The students & teachers were amazed with the findings. The stakeholder’s participation & response was high all the time.

Project Activities

 

  • Project Initiation & Awareness
    The beneficiary selection and documentation process for the project began with the identification and careful selection of schools deemed most suitable for participation. Factors such as student count, proximity to habitat, and location were considered in this selection process. Originally intended for four schools, the project had to be scaled back to two due to limited funds. Ultimately, New English School in Karambavane and Yashawant Vidyalaya in Dhamand were chosen for participation. Following this selection, the project moved forward with education and awareness programs facilitated by SNM. These initiatives included two comprehensive programs consisting of PowerPoint presentations and documentary screenings to educate students about local biodiversity, thereby nurturing their curiosity and interest in conservation efforts. Additionally, two nature trails were organized, allowing students to observe firsthand the diverse flora and fauna in their surroundings.

  

  • Camera Trapping Training
    SNM undertook training sessions for students as well as the teachers & taught them to use the camera trap. Along with the technical training, we thoroughly educated about various. aspects of camera trapping like site selection, pugmark identification, trail finding etc. The students responded very well to this activity. SNM provided each school with three camera traps & its accessories to use during the project implementation. Additionally, pen drive, 2 binoculars, flora& fauna identification book, plant informative calendar was donated to each school.

Camera training

 

  • Camera Trap Installation
    After successful completion of the training & education phase, we installed the camera traps in the jungle around the schools. The students selected the sites based of their knowledge of surrounding under the guidance of SNM officials. The students of 8th & 9th standard and their teachers used to participate in this activity.

   Camera installation

 

  • Data retrieval & Species Identification
    After the completion of previously set duration, the students, teachers & SNM employees used to visit the camera traps, inspect them, retrieve the SD cards, & reinstall the camera traps at suitable places. We undertook nature trails during the installation & retrieval visits and teach the students about the floral & faunal biodiversity. After returning to school, we used to show captured images to the students & teach them to identify the species using books the we have donated to the school. We delivered detailed information about these animals after

  

  • Observations recorded in camera traps
    The camera traps installed near both schools recorded rare faunal diversity which hard to observe in its natural habitat. We have identified Leopard, Goldan jackals, Porcupine, Smooth Coated Otters, Langoors, Wild Boar, Mongoose, Owls, Paradise Flycatcher, Grey Junglefowl, Emarald Dove & many other birds from the camera trap images. The students learnt that these animals roam in their villages using the same trails that people use without affecting/ attacking any of the villagers. The captured images were stored in pen drives & shared with the school for future use.

  • Tasks & Competitions
    SNM undertook multiple tasks & competitions to maintain students interest. We distributed prizes to the students based on performances.

  • Community Outreach
    SNM maintained communication with the community throughout the project duration. At the initiation, we visited Karambavne & Dhamnand Grampanchayat and informed the about the project. We educated Sarpanch, Police Patil & Dispute-free village committee head about the camera traps & its use to avoid any misunderstanding. We attended the parent meetings & told them about the progress we made in the project. The project findings received publicity in multiple newspapers online & offline.

  • Acknowledgements
    SNM is thankful to the DMCC officials for their continuous support spanning multiple years. We really admire your contribution towards unconventional projects like e-Biodiversity. You support lead us to inspire young minds & creating young researchers. We are also thankful to the school administrations, grampanchayat officials for their support. We assure you all that we will continue our efforts to make this world a greener & better place to live.

    Camera installation

    Thank You...!