As the delegates attending the 13th Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) went on an excursion to the Statue of Unity on Friday, the Gujarat Forest Department invited school students to visit an exhibition inside the Indian pavilion at Mahatma Mandir, the venue of the CMS COP13 in Gandinagar.
“Since no formal meetings were scheduled today, we sought permission of the UN (CMS) to allow school students to visit the exhibition so that they can learn about the biodiversity in India and the need to conserve it. We invited the principals of 62 local schools and around 25 schools brought their students to Mahatma Mandir. In all, 732 students and 204 teachers visited the exhibition,” said Dinesh Kumar Sharma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force in Gujarat.
The forest departments of various states, NGOs and institutes researching and working in the field of biodiversity conservation and companies such as the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, have set up their stalls at the exhibition. A total of 61 stalls display various exhibits, replicas of birds and animals, books and other material on wildlife and conservation efforts by government and various agencies.
“We also organised a quiz competition… The objective was to help students learn about our flora and fauna,” added Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Research & Training), Sanjiv Tyagi.
Incidentally, the Gujarat Forest Department has been tasked with making local arrangements for the global event on migratory species of wild animals, which India is hosting for the first time. While the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is hosting the event, arrangements at Mahatma Mandir have been put in place by the state forest department under the MoEFCC’s guidance. “We were preparing for the event for the past several months and it is satisfying that it is going smoothly, without any complaint of mishaps so far,” Sharma added.
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