Inaugurating the third Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE ) world environment day celebrations on June 10th, 2011, Dr Ravi Chellam, wildlife biologist and conservationist, introduced 200 children to the different meanings of the word ‘conservation’. He explained how conservation is not necessarily only ‘protection’ or safe guarding, but can translate to mean ‘judicious use’, which everybody could employ in their use of resources.
This was almost entirely a children’s celebration of the event, as ten schools in and around Jakkur area, and over 200 students, participated. Field activities like bird watching, plant identification, insect identification were organized in and around ATREE to Rachenahalli lake. The lake also became a site for explaining the significance of lake ecology and water resources in Bangalore by ATREE faculty and staff.
There were exhibition stalls by Mahatma Gandhi Regional Institute of Rural Energy and Development on energy conservation, Sahaja Samrudha on organic food products, Daily Dump on waste management, and ATREE on lantana products. Suma TS from Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) introduced students to medicinal plants grown in Bangalore.
Students were introduced to the usage of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and the idea of web-based resources to learn and share information about their environment and biodiversity at the Eco-informatics Laboratory in ATREE. They were also introduced to web applications that could help them identify a tree or a migrant bird or to locate the distribution of a species, like the Leopard or Lantana in India.