Lekshmi R and Dr.R. Rajamanikam, SEECO – Biodiversity awareness campaign for rural schools

Lekshmi R and Dr. R. Rajamanikam run the “Biodiversity Awareness Campaign for Rural Schools” project located in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India. The project involves biodiversity education and participatory butterfly gardening at 10 rural schools. The project organizers noticed that the rural students were not getting proper backyard biodiversity education since many of them drop out of school. They felt it was important to teach them the ecological connections, since rural biodiversity is threatened by improper development and unsustainable extraction of natural resources by the local community.

The proposed project focuses on the connection between local butterflies and native plants as food during their caterpillar and adult stages. The project will be executed in three phases: classroom, outdoor, and internalization sessions. The motivated students identified through internalization sessions are given the seeds or seedlings of a native butterfly host plant. They hope that the project will help in reciprocal conservation of butterflies and plants, and a few of these students will be motivated to become guardians of village biodiversity.