Boat library for kids in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Forest

The Dangamal nature camp inside Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Forest, the nation’s second-largest mangrove ecosystem, has added one thing to its record of points of interest – a ship library for kids, which is maybe the primary of its sort in India.

The library housed in a stationary boat at Dangamal, the gateway to the forest, threw open its doorways on June 5, the World Environment Day, this yr.
The boat is stationed on the eco-tourism advanced in order that kids of holiday makers to Bhitarkanika, which has one of many largest populations of the endangered saltwater crocodiles, in addition to college students of close by faculties can use the library.

Bhitarkanika Divisional Forest Officer J D Pati, who’s among the many brains behind the venture, stated that the boat used to accommodate the library is a kind of discarded by the division after getting used for years to guard the mangrove forest and its wildlife.

It was retrofitted for the aim and a room was created in its hull to accommodate the books. Stairs have been constructed to achieve the room from the bottom.

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“The aim of the library is to connect children and youth to nature and sensitise them about conservation,” Pati stated. Inspiration was drawn from dedication and steady help for mangrove conservation by locals.

“To commemorate their efforts and to build capacity of the next generation, we felt the requirement of a dedicated platform where data, books, documents can be shared with youngsters to motivate them for mangrove and wetland conservation,” Pati stated. He credit the forest division officers for conceptualising and designing the venture, his spouse being certainly one of them.

The library homes 1500 books which have been funded by the government-run Bhitarkanika Eco-Tourism and Eco-Development Society (BEEDS).

As it’s low season for vacationers now, the boat library is open to native kids of the realm, which is situated within the coastal Kendrapara district of Odisha.

The nationwide park is closed from May 1 to July 31 yearly for the mating and nesting of saltwater crocodiles. For now, kids of two to 3 native faculties will probably be allowed to go to the library, Pati stated.

Much thought has been given to draw the youngsters to the library. The boat has been painted in vibrant colors with motifs to draw them. A single room with 32 compartments has been created within the hull of the boat to accommodate the books, which have been positioned on cabinets in a manner that kids discover simple to make use of.

The lowest cabinets are for kids between three and 5 years of age and have image books in Odia, Hindi and English, apart from card video games.

The cabinets above it are for kids between 5 and 10 years and are stocked with people tales, brief tales and biographies. Books for these between 10 and 15 years are positioned within the greater racks and have encyclopedias, books on nature, conservation, atlas, science initiatives and biographies.

On the topmost racks are books for many who are above 15 years. There are books on wildlife conservation, mangrove forests and ecology, apart from authorities brochures and publications on wetland conservation.

Students of Naga Narayan Government High School at Rajnagar inside Bhitarkanika in Kendrapara district have been among the many first-day guests to the boat library. The college students, who’re from three gram panchayat areas close by, have been completely happy.

“We saw so many books on nature and environment. It was fun to be in a library in a boat,” stated S P Priyadarshi Behera, a pupil of normal 9 of the college.

Omprakash Bari, the college’s science trainer, stated the trouble is novel and hoped that it’ll create curiosity among the many kids within the atmosphere and the wetlands. “The college students right here appreciated it all of the extra due to the innovation.

“We hope there will be more books in this library to create awareness of the ecosystem, nature, ecology and wildlife and also on livelihood, which is an important concern for all,” stated Bari, who’s a ‘Wetland Mitra’ and is a member of the financial growth committee of the village and the forest division.

‘Wetland Mitra’ or ‘Friends of Wetlands’ is an individual or organisation able to willingly volunteer to facilitate preservation and safety of wetlands underneath a central authorities venture.

Bhitarkanika mangrove was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International significance in 2002.

“We will also look for donations for stocking books if there is enough response,” Pati stated.

The boat library will probably be open on all days throughout the summer season trip within the faculties and will probably be thrown open to guests when tourism season resumes on August 1, he stated. Every Sunday, college students of two to 3 faculties will probably be allowed to go to the boat library.

There are plans to carry drawing competitions for native faculties apart from capability constructing for conservation, the DFO added.

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