World Wetlands Day 2009 -- India

23/03/2009

Report on the celebration of the WWD-2008 at Kanjia Lake, Orissa

The national level World Wetland Day was observed at “Kanjia Lake”, a wetland of national importance located at Nandankanan Biological Park, Orissa, India, in a befitting manner on 2nd February 2009. Kanjia Lake is designated as a wetland of national importance with effect from 2008. It is an important wetland laying to the south of Mahanadi delta head, within the boundary of Nandankanan Sanctuary. Nandankanan is a famous Biological Park of Orissa. The Kanjia Lake is spread over 105Ha. Its plays a vital role by way of meeting the fresh water needs of the Nandankanan Zoo as well as the botanical garden. With its rich biodiversity and strategic location it would serve as an excellent site for the wetland education.  More than 1.7 million visitor visit Nandankanan annually thus it has immense potential for wetland education. Apart from this with its rich shoreline flora and fauna, it can serve as an open laboratory for the wetland education. Three species of wild rice and more than 40 species of riverine fishes are encountered in this wetland.

The WWD-2009 was observed jointly by the Nandankanan Biological Park and Ministry of Environment and Forest Government of India in collaboration with Pallishree a grass root level NGO with significant experience on wetland education and Ramsar Center Japan. It was a full day programme focused on school children. 100 school children from Chilika and Bhitarkanika (two Ramsar sites of Orissa) and Daha, Kuanria, Kanjia and Ansupa the four wetlands on national importance, participated in the programme. The basic objective was to sensitize the young mind about the importance of wetland its conservation needs and wise use of its resources. The children from these important wetlands were targeted as they are born and brought up near these wetlands and the future of these wetlands lies in their hand.

The programme commenced at 11.00 AM. A wetland education programme for school children supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, government of India was launched on this occasion. A wetland learning trail in form of promenade along the shoreline of the lake is developed with appropriate signage depicting the wetland values and functions, biodiversity, wetland resources and their conservation need along the trail. The students would get an opportunity to have hands on learning by observing the lake shoreline and learn more about the lake ecosystem from the signage along the trail. At the end of the trail there is a choupal (sit out) where the students can interact with the facilitator. The children were divided in to four groups and the education trail was test run with the volunteers from the Pallishree assisted by the experts on fishery, macrophytes, hydrology . It was well received by the students. This was followed by a sit and draw and debate competition amongst the school children at the lake shore. The topic was “values and function of wetland”. 85 students participated in the competition. The competition was tough the volunteers from Ramsar Center Japan and Pallishree coordinated the event.

 In the afternoon a workshop on “Wetland Education”was organized at the lake shore.  More than 100 school children from different wetlands of Orissa participated in the event. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Wild Life, Mr B.K.Pattnaik, was the chief guest and Dr.S.Kaul, Director MoEF, Mr. B.Behera, Special Secretary Forest and Director Environment; Government of Orissa graced the function as honourable guests.  The programme was attended by the international experts like Proof T.Tsuji, president Wetlands International Japan, Proof Y. Natori of UN University Tokyo and 7 Japanese delegates from Ramsar Center Japan. The experts explained to the students on the values and functions of the wetlands, need for their conservation, role of the stake holders in sustainable management and wise use of the wetland resources. The students also spoke on their perception about the importance of the wetlands. Prizes and trophies were distributed to the students who had excelled in the drawing and the debate competition.

A colorful informative brochure containing the facts on Kanjia Lake was released on the occasion by the chief guest. The Ramsar WWD-2009 poster reproduced in local language (Oriya) was also released and distributed.

From: hotmail [mailto:ajitpattnaik@hotmail.com]
Sent: 01 March 2009 05:26
To: HAILS Sandra
Subject: Message from Ajit -India
Importance: High
Dear Sandra,

Greetings from Nandankanan Biological Park. I am happy to inform you that the national level WWD was celebrated at "Kanjia Lake", a wetland of national importance. Taking care of this year’s theme ‘Upstream-Downstream’, Kanjia Lake was selected as it is a part of the Mahanadi River Basin with a small catchment. Interestingly it is the repository of more than 45 species of native riverine fish fauna whose number is rapidly declining due to degradation of riverine ecosystem. It also contains three species of wild rice and 12 species of frog. The biological park is visited by more than 1.7 million annually and more than 0.4 million are school children. Keeping this in mind the WWD celebration was targeted towards the students.

A workshop on "wetland education " was organised. A wetland education programme was also lunched exclusively for the school children. 100 children from two Ramsar sites of Orissa i.e. Chilika and Bhitarkanika and the four wetland of National importance along with their school teachers participated in the WWD-2009 celebration. A wetland education trail along the lake shore is developed with customised signage on wetland values and functions, need for wetland conservation and on the Kanjia lake ecosystem. The wetland education programme would be conducted for the students using the trail . They would also get an opportunity for hands on learning. The education programme would be conducted round the year by a leading NGO with vast experience on Chilika wetland education. The progamme is supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forest Government of India. A nice brochure on Kanjia wetland was released on this occasion.

The most remarkable event was the release of the Ramsar WWD-2008 poster in local language. As promised I could manage to produce the poster in local language i.e. Oriya using the template CD. I am attaching to this message the pdf version of the poster which was produced and released on 2nd Feb. at Kanjia Lake.

I am attaching to this mail the report on the national level celebration of the WWD-2009 at Kanjia lake. The most exciting part is that the volunteers from Japan i.e. RCJ also participated and collaborated with us in WWD celebration along with the fisherman from Lake Saroma Japan.

Hope you will find the report interesting.

Regards, Ajit

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