THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking a cue from Home Department’s highly successful Student Police Cadets (SPC) initiative, the state Forest Department too is gearing up for an ambitious and similar move - Eco Cadet Corps.
As per the proposal submitted to the government for administrative sanction, the cadets under the scheme would be given benefits including grace marks for higher studies.
To be included in Mission 676 of the government and expected to be implemented at a cost of around Rs 80 lakh in the initial phase, Eco Cadet Corps aims at engage students in a long-term relationship with nature conservation.
Aimed at identifying about 1400 young leaders from districts and groom them as brand ambassadors of nature conservation, ECC has plans to provide training to students on the lines of NCC (National Cadet Corps), and make them brand ambassadors of nature protection. Armed with the motto ‘Caring for nature’, the Eco Cadets will get an exposure to ecologically important regions, said officials.
At a national social forestry workshop, Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said Eco Cadets would be a major step forward in nature conservation.
As per the proposed structure, the ECC would come under APCCF (Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests) Biodiversity Conservation at the state level. There will be three nodal officers - CCF Kozhikode, CCF Ernakulam and CCF Kollam - at the regional level. At the district level, the activities would be coordinated by Assistant Conservator of Forests.
A state-level Advisory Board with Head of Forest Force as the chairman, and members from various departments has also been proposed. As per the initial proposal, about 100 students will be identified from each district through stringent selection procedures including test and interview. Students in Standards VII-VIII would be the target group, with two students from each school. The ECC plans to have its own flag and logo. Though the uniform has not been finalised, olive greens are the preferred choice.
“They will be given proper training on the lines of NCC and included in nature conservation activities. The training is aimed at capacity building, ensuring positive communication skills and nurturingeco stewardship. Based on performance the students would be given awards and recognitions. In addition, they will be given star rating also. Nature camps would be organised for the cadets and based on that grace marks would be given. Those who attend at least one camp would get a grace marks of five. All necessary accessories like uniform and caps would be provided by the department. They can even take part in activities like wildlife census at a later stage,” officials said.
“Some of the major objectives of ECC include promoting responsible eco-stewardship, making young leaders the brand ambassadors of nature conservation, instil an attraction for nature among youngsters and developing them as young and responsible leaders committed to protecting nature, create and maintain a sustainable and biodiversity-rich eco system, equip young leaders to achieve these objectives, develop skills for conservation and create awareness among them,” said officials.