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  e-newsletter of the Centre for Environment Education
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February 1-28, 2014
Useful resource material on Disaster Risk Rehabilitation for communities.

Awareness and Training on Disaster Risk Rehabilitation Psychosocial Care and Support

The Kurolivillage of Uttarkashi of Uttarkahand has had a long history of natural disasters—flash floods in 1978; earthquake in 1991; land slide in 2003 and 2010; and flash floods again in 2013. Forest fires are a common phenomenon every summer. CEE Himalaya, with financial support of JSW Foundation, organized a one-day awareness and training programme on Disaster Risk Rehabilitation (DRR) and psycho-social care and support at Kuroli village. More than 47 participants including ASHA & Anganwadi worker, Mahila Mangal Dal, farmers & villagers took part in this awareness programme.

During this programme, the participants were oriented about different kinds of disasters, the extent of destruction they can cause, and how as individuals, they can respond to this situation. With the help of the villagers a evacuation plan was prepared. Mr. Jagroshan, Project Officer, CEE talked about the do and don’ts during disasters. Causes and preventive measures for forest fires were also discussed. During the programme it was also highlighted that while a DRR Committee already exits in every village, more demonstrations could be held through training of the committee staff. The villagers were also made aware about ASHA workers (i.e. local women trained to act as health educators and promoters in the community) who have an emergency kit available with them.

Mr. Khilawan Singh on behalf of the village residents, appreciated the work being done by CEE and he was also thankful for sharing information about psychosocial care, Disaster Risk Reduction among others with the people. He requested that more such training programmes that discuss and make people aware on the respective topics could be held.

Engaging the local people in the process of People’s Biodiversity Register formation.

Formation of Peoples’ Biodiversity Register in villages of Jasdan

The CEE Jasdan Field Office located at Rajkot had taken up a project ‘VIRASAT’ with the Gujarat Biodiversity Board. The project includes setting-up a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) and facilitating the formation of a People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in 10 identified villages of the block. After the successful completion of the first phase, the second phase of the project has been initiated. A Memorandum of Understanding to form 25 BMCs and PBRs were signed with the Gujarat Biodiversity Board.

To facilitate the process of PBR formation, a number of participatory methods were adopted. These included, among others, interacting with different groups, and village biodiversity mapping. Village schools were also involved in this intensive process where children competed with each other in making a list of biodiversity that was found in their villages. This provided an opportunity for students to interact with the senior family members and learn from them. The entire process generated tremendous interest and awareness among the village community about the local biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge.

The schools displayed their projects at the Jamboorate.

Jamboorate: District-level Eco Fairs in Rajasthan

The Rajasthan State Bharat Scouts and Guides, the state nodal agency for the National Green Corps programme (NGC) has been organizing meetings called ‘Jamboorate’. The organizations participating in this event are from the block and state level.

Seizing this opportunity, CEE Jaipur, the NGC State Resource Agency suggested hosting these meetings along with the NGC eco-fairs. Eco-fairs are annual events that provide eco-clubs an opportunity to showcase the different initiatives that they have undertaken during the year, and also encourage other schools to take up environment conservation activities.

As part of Jamboorate, district level eco-fairs were organised in Bundi, Sirohi, Tonk and Udaipur districts of the State. Each district level eco-fair, saw participation of around 3000 eco-club students from 50-60 NGC schools. The participating schools displayed their small and large initiatives at the stalls, and disseminated information about the various eco-friendly activities/projects undertaken by their eco-club. Painting competitions and environmental quiz were also conducted too. Apart from students, media representatives, government officials, youth from colleges and the general public also participated in this event.

World Wetlands Day Celebrations

February 2 each year is celebrated as the World Wetlands Day. This year's Wetlands Day theme was ‘Wetlands & Agriculture: Partners for Growth’, placing a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors to work together for the best shared outcomes.

Thol wetland attracts thousands of birds.

At Sundarvan Nature Discovery Centre
Sundarvan announced a trip to Thol Bird Sanctuary to celebrate the World Wetlands Day on February 2. An introductory session that covered information on wetland, its services, wetland flora and fauna, threats, conservation measures by different agencies, Ramsar sites, and importance of the day was carried out at Sundarvan. Following which the participants were taken to Thol. Apart from sharing information on the sanctuary and its dependants, a bird watching session was conducted. Participants showed interest and involvement by noting down the names and facts about the flora and fauna that were sighted during this trip.

Besides Thol, wetlands at Rachada and Kanjari for blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) were also visited. Resource material along with wetland conservation messages were distributed to all.

Recapitulating day-long learnings through an impromptu quiz.

At the Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary

CEE North observed World Wetlands Day with the schools of Children’s Forest Programme by taking them to a visit to a renowned wetland at Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Unnao. The objective of this visit was to raise awareness among students about the interdependence between water availability and wetlands, to make them understand that without wetlands there will be no water, and to highlight ways of taking care of them. Around 90 students and teachers from 5 schools participated in this programme.

Given the theme for this year, the day started with briefing students about the importance of wetlands in our life and also for various life forms dependant on wetlands. On reaching the Bird Sanctuary, students were taken on a trail to the lake site. Children spotted several resident as well as migratory birds on the bushes, trees and also in the water. Students also took part in several games and activities.


CEE is the ENVIS centre on Environmental Education (EE). As an ENVIS centre, CEE caters to the information needs of environmental educators. Write to the CEE ENVIS Centre at

Sharing information on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

Awareness and Training on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

CEE Himalaya, with financial support of JSW Foundation, organized a one-day awareness and training programme on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) on February 24 at Kuroli village of Uttarkashi, Uttarkahand. More than 20 participants including farmers (male and female) and villagers took part in this awareness programme. This programme aimed to restore the livelihood option for villagers through cultivation and conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants.

The forests of Kuroli village are rich in MAPs. At the programme, the villagers were introduced to the medicinal value of local MAPs, they learnt about the various medicinal plants and their significance. The scheme of state government on MAPs was shared. The CEE Team shared the poster on Commercial Cultivation of MAPs that had all the information related to their cultivation, as well as contact numbers of relevant departments with those villages which were interested in the cultivation of MAPs. The Mahila Mandal Dal from the local community have requested for more such training on MAPs.

Mr. Kushpal, Project Officer, CEE Himalays also highlighted the challenges that arise out of lack of irrigation facilities, and poor water management in the district and how it affects the livelihood of the people of the region. He cited different examples of water conservation practices like rainwater harvesting and protection of the natural water bodies.

Demonstrating the quick rescue response method.

Community-based Psychosocial Care and Support Training

A three-day workshop on Community Based Psychosocial Care and Support for Community level Workers was held at Uttarkashi, Uttarkhand between February 8-10 by Sphere India in collaboration with CEE. The workshop was held for community workers groups, who were oriented on the perceptions of psychosocial care and how patients’ needs are met. Experts from Sphere India; Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS); National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), CEE interacted with the participants during the three days.

During the workshop, Mr. Jagmohan Arora from IRCS gave a demonstration of using a First-aid kit and how to give a quick rescue response, keeping oneself prepared for emergencies. CEE Himalaya shared their experiences of the programme UMANG – Joy of Learning, supported by JSW Foundation, where outdoor games and activities are not only used as a methodology for handling trauma-affected children but also to generate awareness on different types of disasters and preventive measures to be taken pre and post those disasters. In the last session of workshop, Mr. Baranwal, ADM, Uttarkashi and Mr. Pathwal, DPM Disaster cell, Uttarkashi shared their experience of disaster management at Uttarkhand.

Promoting e-learning through the Virtual Resource Centre.

Virtual Resource Centres for Quality Education

The Rural Programmes Group of CEE is implementing on a pilot basis a ‘Virtual Resource Centre and Training Platform’ project for the government rural primary schools of Valsad District, Gujarat. A Tablet having 2G internet connectivity, in-built educational applications, along with a 32 inch LCD TV for projection is being given to science teachers of 10 government primary schools.

A specific educational networking portal that serves as a virtual online resource centre has also been developed. Resource material and innovations in the field of education are shared on periodic basis with the teachers using this portal. How well the teachers receive this educational material and use it, is being monitored as part of the programme.

A feedback workshop on February 18 was organized at the Block Resource Centre Dharampur, Valsad. The teachers shared that the audio visual content which was preloaded on the tablet supported them in making classrooms sessions interactive, and thereby making science practicals easier for the students. The teachers requested for science teaching-learning videos; animations, stories, experiments etc. Technical problems were also reported.

Given the positive response, the second phase, will engage another 33 government primary schools from the Visavadar block, Junagadh, Gujarat.

Campers on a forest trail at Suhelwa
Experiencing Nature at Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary

During February, students from schools of Bihar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and West Champaran, in 3 different groups, participated in three-day nature camps at Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary, Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh. These camping programmes were organized under National Nature Camping Programme (NNCP) of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. In all, around 150 students and teachers from four NGC schools attended the three camps.

Suhelwa lies in the terai arc space that borders Nepal, and is an ideal location for adventure, relaxation and above all learning. Though the travel to reach this location is somewhat long and tiring, once one reaches there, Suhelwa embraces visitors in its mystic beauty, and all the troubles of reaching the site wither away.

During the camp, students undertook an exercise where they observed various elements of nature closely. Various concepts learnt from their textbooks came alive. The evenings were filled with cultural activities and quizzes around the bonfire. A special programme by local folk artists took students closer to the intangible cultural heritage of the area. Unexpected rain made these nature camps more adventurous! This first time experience for most of the students rejuvenated their mind and spirit, and all students felt a vibration of enthusiasm by being in the midst of green, comforting and pleasing environment.

Sharing some facts about shells of mollusks.

Sundarvan Nature Discovery Centre

Sundarvan is recognized as a mini-zoo by the Central Zoo Authority, Government of India. It has a collection of reptiles, birds and animals. It runs nature education programmes with include on-campus activities, outreach activities, and camping at a number of beautiful places.

Learning from Nature
A group of 64 students of Grade 6, accompanied by five teachers from Lalji Mehrotra Lions School, Ahmedabad visited Sundarvan on February 15 to participate in various fun-filled and curriculum-linked activities. The ‘Who am I’ game acted as the ice-breaker session. This was followed by a guided zoo visit, nature trail, touch table, clay model making, and puppetry, face painting, snake awareness programme and adventure activities at the park premises.

Birthdays at the zoo
Thirty three children aged between 7 and 11, along with five adults, attended a birthday celebration at Sundarvan on February 19. Several educational and adventure activities were conducted for them. The Bat Show was the highlight of the day. The organizers said that the participants had lot of fun and meaningful time at Sundarvan.

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© CEE 2013 Editorial team: Mamata Pandya, Carol Dsouza, Design: Pankaj Gorana