Hi all, greetings from FSL India’s Centre for Experiential Living (CEL), Kundapur!
Sea-turtles are sporadic creatures and are considered to be an endangered species. In the west coast of Karnataka, on the shores of Kundapura and Byndoor, seven wounded sea-turtles were found. Injuries are caused by the rough waves of the monsoon season and getting trapped in fishing nets.
Upon finding the wounded sea-turtles, local fisherman immediately called up FSL-India’s Home Based Project (HBP) team members. The rescue operation took place from the 19th of June to the 23rd of June, whereby the sea-turtles were treated at the local veterinary hospital and kept in the departmental rescue center. Once they recovered, the sea-turtles were released back into the ocean during low-tide period.
On Saturday, the 14th of June, the Youth Development Programme (YDP) ran its first Field Learning Session (FLS) at Sarakki Lake. The theme of this FLS was environmental conservation, in particular, reviving Sarakki Lake. For this FLS, we partnered with the Sarakki Lake Area Improvement Trust (SLAIT); an organisation made up of ordinary, yet dedicated citizens working towards the revival of Sarakki Lake.
Participants were first introduced to the problems of Sarakki Lake and the actions that SLAIT has been taking towards it. Afterwards, participants were taken on-site to see the conditions of the lake first-hand. The debrief session at the end demonstrated everyone’s enthusiasm to work towards Sarakki Lake’s cause.
Margaux, a long-term volunteer (LTV) working in Tamil Nadu writes to us about her experience during World Environment Day.
“I am Ms. Margaux from France, volunteering in the Model Village Project (MVP). On 5th June, the day began as “World Environment Day“. We (I and the FSL-India Chennai team) planned a puppetry session for the primary school children of the age group between 8 10 years in Panchayat Union Primary School, Thenneri, Kancheepuram District.
We focused on the hazards of plastic polluting our environment and insisting the importance of throwing out our waste in a garbage bin. We made our puppets with old socks, papers, wool and wooden sticks.
The story was about the Journey of a Plastic Bag which was carried away by the wind. During its travel it meets a snake, a turtle and a young girl. All these characters share their sadness with the plastic bag and tell him how the environment gets destroyed, causes of health problems due to pollution, water pollution etc. Then they all worry how their next generation is going to survive in the polluted environment peacefully and healthily. At the end, the plastic bag understands the importance of segregating waste and recycling. It meets the village chief, headmaster of the school to spread this message to the villagers and school children.
It was really a great experience to hide behind the screen and express the dialogues through shaking the puppets on the screen. As I could not speak the local language Tamil very fluently, one of the FSL-India Team members gave me the voice behind the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed the session and can visualize the attention as well as the enjoyment of the children being behind the screen.”
World Environment Day is observed every year on the 5th of June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature. The first World Environment Day was observed in 1973.
Every year FSL-India, in collaboration with different departmental and community stake holders, celebrates World Environment Day. This year FSL-India’s Home Based Project team in Kundapura organized a series of sessions on the theme of “Healthy Environment and Good Health”. The event was organized at K. Jagannatha Rao Government High School in Koni, Kundapura and 96 school children and teachers benefited from these sessions.
The five stake holders that collaborated with FSL-India to celebrate World Environment Day were:
Taluk Education Resource Center Kundapur
Primary Health Center Basrur
Village Panchayath Koni
K. Jagannatha Rao Government High School Koni
From the 3rd of March to the 23rd of March, we had two volunteers from the United States participate in a Construction/Environment/Tibetan Culture themed workcamp in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Even though it was a small group, our two team leaders aided the two international volunteers to achieve satisfaction and fulfilment that they sought through volunteerism.They actively took part in various activities including painting a school wall and black board, and educational drawing at Dharamkot Government Primary School.
The two motivated volunteers conducted sessions on health and hygiene awareness to the school children, and almost 40 children benefited from this activity. The volunteers also cleaned an open field located in McLeodganj along with the staff from a local NGO called Waste Warriors, with an aim to promote awareness among the local community in keeping their surroundings clean.
As part of their inter-cultural learning, the volunteers had the opportunity to interact with Tibetan monks. They also took part in a Tibetan cooking session. Although the volunteers were busy doing all of these activities, they had just enough spare time at the end of their stay to take part in a site seeing excursion to a Hindu temple, Baghsu waterfalls, Dalai Lama Temple, the Tibet Museum, and the Tibetan Children’s Village community. The volunteers also did a presentation about their country traditions and cultural aspects for the school children.
A second workcamp (WC) took place in Kundapura, Karnataka in the month of February. Its theme was Education/Environment/Renovation/Children. Attending this WC were seven international volunteers, one national volunteer and two WC team leaders.
Volunteers worked at a government school and constructed hand washing sinks, painted two classrooms and taught students basic English, Maths, sports and environmental issues such as pollution and conservation. Over a 100 children benefited from the activities of this WC.
Volunteers also had the chance to spend time with an Indian family to understand the culture, beliefs and values. They took part in a south Indian cooking session and visited local attractions.
A sea turtle conservation/environment themed workcamp (WC) took place in Kundapura, Karnataka in the month of February 2014. Attending were two international volunteers, one national volunteer and one team leader.
Participants built a sea-turtle information center in Kodi beach and raised awareness to the fishermen community on the importance of sea-turtle conservation. Volunteers also put on a puppet-show in Berary Primary School for 60 children, spreading the same idea of sea-turtle conservation. As part of the inter-cultural activities, volunteers interacted with local families, went on a boat ride in the backwaters, visited temples and more.
In February 2014, four international volunteers from South Korea and the Netherlands joined two workcamp (WC) team leaders in Jodhpur, Rajasthan for a Social/Children/Culture themed WC. Almost 80 school children benefited from the activities of this WC.
All participants worked in the Samaj Shishu Shiksan Sansthan School; doing renovation and painting, as well as teaching basic English and Maths and carrying out sports activities and educational games.
Volunteers also put on an environmental awareness programme focused on health, hygiene and solid waste management. They also had a chance to learn about Indian culture by interacting with the local community and visiting a carpet factory, palaces and temples.
World Water Day has been observed on the 22nd of March since 1993 since the United Nations General Assembly declared it so. To commemorate this day, and spread awareness on the importance of water, FSL-India joined hands with the Water Literacy Foundation and took part in an awareness raising rally.
The Water Literacy Foundation, one of our local partners, works towards rain water harvesting systems and FSL-India has been placing volunteers there for the last three years. Joining FSL-India staff members were also three long-term volunteers (LTV). In addition, around 300 other participants took part in the rally, riding their bicycles from Freedom Park to Vijayanagar.
On the 10th of March 2014 our hopes finally came true. The first Olive Ridley sea-turtles of this season hatched in our hatchery in Maravanthe, Kundapura.
Nearly two months after their mother came ashore to lay her eggs, seventeen little babies made their way through the eggshell out of the nest. With the support of the Forest Department, our Home Based Project team released them a few meters before the sea to give them a chance to imprint on their natal beach, and guarded them as they crawled straight into the ocean. But these were just the first steps of a long journey full of threats.
Little is known about the first years of sea-turtles. Once they reach the ocean, they get into a so-called swim-frenzy; swimming against the waves until they arrive in the open sea. They spend their first years in a variety of foraging habitats, threatened essentially by pollution and deep-sea fishing. Many feed on garbage, mistaking it with food or get caught in fishnets and die. The survivors travel long distances from their feeding to their breeding grounds. After mating the females come back to their natal beach and the circle of life starts again.
We wish the baby sea-turtles good luck!
On the 11th of March, our Home Based Project team decided to tackle the growing concern of improper waste management systems in Kundapura. Waste mismanagement was leading to debris in the ocean, causing harm to marine life, and littering the roads of the areas.
The team, in order to draw the attention of the Municipality Authorities, met and consulted with Kodi Bearys College of Management, the NSS wing, FSL-India volunteers and ward counsellors to find some solutions to bring an end to the mismanagement of waste in the areas concerned. After meeting with the Municipality President, permission was given to undertake a community-based random sample survey of 251 households in order to gain a better understanding of the situation.
In the end, 72% of the households agreed to pay Rs. 30 each month to have a Municipality Waste Disposal System.
It is said actions speak louder than words. On September 21, the joint endeavors of close to 600 local and international volunteers lay testament to this old adage. We came together to be a part of the world’s largest volunteering initiative to clean up waterways and the ocean: the International Coastal Cleanup. Our concerted efforts resulted in 11 tons of trash being collected in 1 day over 26 km of Karnataka’s coastline*. Read the rest of this entry