Biodiversity, sustainability, food security, and climate change have become near-bland words owing to their frequent use in the media. While the societal implication of these issues is obvious, an appreciation often asks for a fair understanding. Where education and outreach programs that broadly complement our thrust area could play a lead role.
There are multiple ways to reach diverse stakeholders (students at the educational institutions to common interest groups) to disseminate the basic concepts like, functions of nature and natural dynamics, biodiversity, human as an integral part of natural systems, pros and cons of human interaction, probable future scenario of the world, what we can imbibe from the traditional societies etc.
We have aimed so far……..
Research activities – short / medium / long term projects on biodiversity, conservation, sustainability.
Awareness generation – local level meeting, workshop, documentation, and information dissemination. An initial step towards this will be the publication of a bi-monthly newsletter. It will focus on various pertinent issues enveloping bio-cultural diversity, natural history, sustainability, but in a relatively simple manner and avoiding technical jargons. The first issue, we anticipate, is due in late March 2018.
Capacity building – workshops and courses on the development of basic skills on documentation, mapping, field observation, monitoring, participatory activities and research planning.
Dr. Avik Ray and Dr. Rajasri Ray visited East Midnapore district for their ecological field work on old trees and conducted an interactive session with the students of Antyodoy Anath Ashram, Paunsi. During the field survey (10-12TH February, 2019), Mr. Sukumar Samanta from Antyodoy Ashram accompanied them and coordinated the field work across the local villages. The interactive session dealt with topics like importance of old trees, biodiversity and climate change. The session was concluded with two documentary films on environmental awareness.
Dr. Avik Ray and Dr. Rajasri Ray conducted their ecological fieldwork and academic interaction in Purulia and Bankura district of West Bengal. During the visit, an interactive session on “Natural Resource Conservation and Management” with the under-graduate and post-graduate students of Pandit Raghunath Murmu Smriti Mahavidyalaya (P.R.M.S. College), Jamboni, Bankura was also organized. Dr. Subhasis Mahato, Faculty at Department of Forestry, was the local host and efficiently coordinated the entire program. He has also actively participated in the three-day long fieldwork surveying old trees in Bankura and Purulia.
GIS workshop in St. Xaviers’ College, Mumbai
Dr. Rajasri Ray has conducted a two-day introductory workshop on “Geographic Information System in Plant Science Research” at Botany Department, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, 17-18th April, 2018. The workshop was aimed to provide basic knowhow of geographic information system and its application to the undergraduate students of Botany Department.
The workshop sessions included basic digitization procedure, vector and raster data formats, database development, map layer preparation and editing, thematic mapping and handling of open access data. The program was attended by staffs and students of the Botany Department.