It was a special occasion when Mr. Rakesh Soans (President, FSL India) was invited to conduct a Sea Turtle and Environmental awareness training on 26th November, 2020 for 45 staff members of Padubidri Blue Flag beach with the cooperation of Udupi tourism at Padubidri endpoint beach.
The Blue Flag is a certification by the Denmark based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its standards. Padubidri beach in Karntaka is one the eight Indian beaches, which had got the Blue Flag tag in October ’20 . The remaining 7 beaches are: Shivrajpur (Dwarka, Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden Beach (Puri, Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
The Objective of the Training program were:
1. To create a model for Social Leaders to take care of our Nature and living spaces
2. Think and plan about the needs of future generations
3. Provide a platform and opportunity to serve the community
4. Empowering communities to identify and solve environmental and social issues
The program was inaugurated by local dignitaries – Mr. Shasikanth (Zila Panchayat member, Udupi), Mr. Soma Shekar BK (Asst. Director – Tourism department), Mr. Monohara Shetty (President – Coastal Tourism Association), Mr. Vijayakumar Shetty (Blueflag Beach manager), Mr. Rakesh Soans (President, FSL India) and Mr. Amith (Tourism Dept.).
The training program kicked-off with an Energiser session by Mr. Rakesh Soans – Mr. Venkatesh (Senior Program Manager) and Mr. Manjunath B (STC Project Coordinator). This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Rakesh Soans on FSL-India’s Sea Turtle Conservation project, the Objectives of the project, the important role that sea turtle’s play in our Bio-diversity.
Later participants were divided into groups to identify a social issue in their locality. Action plans were presented by each group for the following issues – Waste management, Pollution, Fishing problems. Children also took active participation in the group discussions.
The highlight of the workshop was when a group of high school children joined the workshop and actively participated by bringing for the very creative and interesting solutions to the table. The group could not help but appreciate and recognise that these children are the future.
The key outcomes from the Training program were:
- Most of the participants have expressed their interest to become contact persons and volunteers in their area for the STC Project.
- Strengthened our relationship with the Tourism Department.
- As a next step we will be initiating a SLAC (Social Leadership Action Circle) in Padubidri. SLAC is a platform for people to exercise their Personal Social Responsibility (PSR). SLAC is comprised of our Partner NGOs, Host Families, Local Volunteers, Youth Groups, School and College students, Women groups, local community members who will play an active role in promoting, supporting, coordinating and implementing social projects and volunteer programs.