Hearing impaired students’ day out at tiger reserve

3 weeks ago 9
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Twenty-one students of Florence Swainson Higher Secondary School for the Deaf, situated opposite the Palayamkottai Central Prison, had the lifetime experience as they visited the Kalakkad – Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve on Friday to commemorate the birth anniversary of ‘Birdman of India’, Dr. Salim Ali.

Collector V. Vishnu, who organized and inaugurated the students’ visit to the tiger sanctuary’s jungles in Mundanthurai, said: “John Muir, an influential Scottish-American naturalist once said: In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. Hence, we organised this ‘nature walk’ for these children”.

ATREE’s (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment) Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimutharu joined hands with the district administration in this one-day conservation education program titled ‘Wild Tamirabharani Walk (WTW)’ connecting students with ‘mother nature’.

This day-long ecological trip engaged, explored and, educated the students about the environmental importance of river Tamirabharani and her associated landscapes such as hill streams, wet evergreen forest swamps, riparian forests, rivers, irrigation tanks, paddy fields, temple ponds, natural springs in sand-dunes, mangrove forests or estuaries. The participants got benefited through outdoor experiences, classroom lectures, play-based hands-on, art and craft through scientific enquiry.

The students were engaged in exploring the riparian wilderness of river Servalar in the 5 kms Mundanthurai to Servalar trek path admiring the greeneries, occasional gaze of gaur, footprints of bears, the aroma of grasses, tadpoles, butterflies and many little wonders. They were introduced wildlife gadgets like GPS, camera trap, anemometer, bat detector, range finder etc.

They also visited Papanasam dam, Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple and Papanasam Tribal Government Boarding School.

“This event helped the students appreciate the significance of Tamirabharani and her tributaries Servalar and Karayar, heritage lands and other associated habitats and also gained first-hand experience on various ecological phenomena like pollination, decomposition, epiphytes, predation, water-cycle, etc.,” said M. Mathivanan, Senior Research Associate, ATREE.

“This is the first time our students visited a pristine jungle and they admired the wildness of the KMTR. These kinds of programmes should be organised frequently for differently-abled children,” said Johnson, principal of Florence Swainson Higher Secondary School for the Deaf.

Nature educator of ATREE Maria Antony, researcher Thalavaipandi and volunteer Ramanarayanan trained the students in the field.

The ‘Wild Tamirabharani Walk’ is one of the programmes under the ‘Nellai Neervalam’ (Tirunelveli Water Resources) initiative and this will be organized every month for the school students, who will be taken to various biodiversity rich places in Tamirabharani river basin, said Mr. Vishnu.

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