World Wetlands Day 2005 -- India

22/03/2005

World Wetland Day 2005

On the 2nd February, 2005, the World Wetland Day, an occasion to mark conservation of wetlands world over, was celebrated at Godrej Mangrove Project for the 8th consecutive year with a number of activities.

Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd and Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Foundation, a public Charitable Trust, jointly manage a vast tract of mangrove forest spread along western bank of Thane creek. The Godrej Mangrove Project initiated in 1985, works with a 3 prong approach- Research, Conservation and Education. Further information about the project can be accessed at
http://www.godrej.com/GodrejNew/GodrejHome/OurCommitments/CorporateCare/Mangroves.htm.

This year, following events were conducted to celebrate world wetland day:

1) Inauguration of Palms Garden, a joint venture of Godrej and Accenture,
2) Releasing a series of 8 posters on mangrove species found in Godrej vicinity,
3) Presentation by Mangrove Club members of Udayachal Highschool, a Godrej establishment,
4) A mangrove trail for St. Anne's High school, New Bombay, and
5) A slide show on mangrove ecosystem at Conservation Education Centre of 'Bombay Natural History Society'.

The celebration was presided by senior members of Godrej family-Mrs. Smita Crishna, Mr. Vijay Crishna and Dr. K. A. Palia, Executive Director & Head of Corporate Finance, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

The invitees assembled at palms garden and observed two-minute silence in respect of the Tsunami victims.

Inauguration of Palms and Cacti Garden:

Accenture Services Pvt Ltd, a leading multinational consulting company has office premises in Godrej campus. A team of senior managers from Accenture joined hands with the Mangrove Project to contribute their bit for the environmental safety. After elaborate discussions, a concept of theme parks along with the central Mangrove Park was developed. Idea is to have a complex of botanical gardens on the higher grounds near the mangrove forest to attract people of different interests, to the mangrove park. Palms and Cacti garden is one such effort. The Accenture employees and a group of under privileged children from Akanksha, an NGO based in Mumbai, planted the different palm and cacti species and contributed financially for its maintenance.
A group of children from Udayachal High school was taken around the park to begin the education programs on the palms and cacti.

Inauguration of mangrove poster series by Ms Smita Crishna (right)

Poster series on mangroves:

A series of 7 posters on identification of seven species of mangroves and close associates was released on the WWD 2005. Mrs. Smita Crishna released the posters. Adittya Dharap, a mechanical engineer by profession and a botanist and artist by nature, sketched and deigned the posters with the help of Laxmikant Deshpande, the Education Officer from our Mangrove Interpretation Centre. Special help was taken from the Industrial Design Centre of Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), a leading educational organization in the field of graphic designs for better impact.

Mangrove Club of Udayachal Highschool:

During June 2004, Mangrove Club was initiated with the active support from Mrs. Saraswati Iyer, Principal of the Udayachal High school. The Club is a voluntary activity and currently there are 40 students actively participating in the club activities. The aim of the Club is to educate oneself about importance of mangroves and spread the awareness amongst the Godrej schools and Township residents. The Club was registered as a part of Environment Management System for the Pirojshanagar Township to ensure high accountability and responsibility. Initial training was given to the students and staff members through slide shows and nature trails to understand different aspects of the mangrove ecosystem. Based on the capacity of the group, a program was designed for the Mangrove club that included:
1. Slide shows - Club members conducted slide shows for other students of high school.
2. Exhibition and game stalls were put up in 'Anand Mela', an eco-friendly fun n fair conducted every year at Godrej Township which is visited by over 3000 residents and employees.
3. An exhibition was arranged on mangrove ecosystem during 'Ganeshotsav', a Hindu religious festival wherein a theme is selected every year for exhibition to spread mass awareness amongst Township residents.
On occasion of World Wetland Day, the members reported their Club's activities to the invitees. Also a skit and a song were presented for the audience present. The members said that the Club has made a humble beginning and intend to continue its activities in next academic year too.

Nature Trail:
St. Anne's high school, situated in New Bombay along eastern coast of Thane creek has been interested in mangrove education for a long time. A group of 30 children from the school came to the Godrej Mangrove Project to join the WWD 2005 celebrations. The student were taken for a mangrove nature trail by Avinash, a volunteer regularly coming to educate young children.

Slide Show at BNHS:
Godrej mangrove project interacts regularly with Bombay Natural History Society, a premier Indian NGO working for wildlife research and awareness activities. A slide show on mangrove ecosystem was conducted at Conservation Education Centre of BNHS for 100 students of 5th and 8th grade from D.A.V. High school, Nerul, a suburb in New Bombay. The slide show was conducted by the BNHS staff with the technical help from the Godrej Mangrove Project.

Since 1998, Godrej Mangrove Project is making best efforts to increase its outreach and we have been able to generate a lot of curiosity and interest about mangroves at local and State level. The media had also taken a note of it and The Times of India; the leading Newspaper of the country featured the WWD 2005 celebrations in their Sunday Edition.

Interaction with Udayachal High School students during inauguration of Palms and Cacti Garden.

Presentaiton by Udayachal High School Mangrove Club members


Vivek Kulkarni
Head, Mangrove Project
Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.
Pirojshanagar, Vikhroli,
Mumbai-400 079
India

Email: mangroves@godrej.com

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"

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