JHARKHAND: In a one of its kind initiative, the Jamshedpur forest division has been creating awareness among school children about the conservation of water, climate change and man-animal conflict. Under this programme, children are shown documentaries on a large LED screen mounted on a vehicle on various topics and are allowed to ask questions in case they have any queries.
The initiative is a brainchild of Jamshedpur divisional forest officer Mamta Priyadarshi. After brainstorming for several weeks about the issue, she decided to start an awareness campaign among the growing young children so that it could make an impact on their minds for their entire lifetime.
As of now, the campaign has covered over 2.5 lakh people under the Jamshedpur forest division across 347 villages of the district.
According to Priyadarshi, frequent forest fires in the region in recent years prompted her to take a decision in this regard. “The idea came to my mind looking at the impact of climate change in the local areas resulting in forest fires, which is being witnessed quite frequently in the region. Earlier, people did not even know what a forest fire is,” she said.
Since East Singhbhum is quite prone to man-elephant conflicts due to regular movement of wild elephants in the region, she also wanted to reduce the same to the extent possible.
“Since we cannot expect wild animals to behave in a certain way, the only way out is for human beings to understand why conflict is happening and what precautions should be taken to avert it,” she said.
The audio-video mode of communication was chosen as most people are likely to stop and see what is being shown on the LED screen even if they are not really interested in the topic, and end up learning something, she added.
According to the official, the basic objective is to create awareness among young children studying in different schools across the district through audio-visual medium screening of documentaries on four different topics.
“The first video is about man-animal conflict, while the second video is related to forest fire management and third one is about zero carbon emission. The fourth video is about the conservation of forests and plantation of trees and how should they be taken care of,” said Priyadarshi.
The videos have been created in simple Hindi language so that the children and the villagers could understand it easily, she added.
Besides being played in various schools, the videos were also played in haats, squares and common places in the villages so that maximum awareness could be created among the masses. Villagers and students were evidently keen to ask questions from beat officers.
“Children were enthusiastic and many of them asked questions if they had any doubts over any topic,” said retired forester Vinay Kumar, assigned to manage the programme.
The children also seemed to be happy to learn something from their syllabus. “We were told not to cut trees and plant trees as it protects our environment. We were also given tips on what to do in case we come across a herd of wild elephants,” said Sanjay Munda, a student in Chakulia.