On 6 October 2018, the Centre for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES) had the opportunity to host a group of about 55 students and 5 faculty members from Delhi University’s Dyal Singh College at the Dheerpur Wetland Park (DWP). The students, who were pursuing their first and fifth semester in Zoology Honors were visiting the DWP restoration project as part of their field module. After being welcomed at the CUES field station by the Director of CUES, Dr Suresh Babu, the students were divided into three groups for an interactive bird watching session. Each of the three groups was led by two CUES researchers who provided a brief introductory talk on birding and also oriented the students with some of the common wetland and terrestrial birds of the DWP.
Using spotting scopes, binoculars and bird books, students were able to learn how to locate and identify some of the birds of the wetland park. Some of the birds identified during the birdwatching activity were Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger), Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha), Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus), Shikra (Accipiter badius), Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa), White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus) and several species of wagtails. The students seemed visibly excited during the birdwatching activity and returned to the CUES field station for a short tea-break.
The next session was anchored by Dr Babu, who, with the help of architectural plans and pictorial representations introduced the students to the DWP project. The group also joined Dr Babu for a walk around the wetland park during which he spoke about the application of the principles of restoration ecology in a project such as the DWP restoration project. The last session was conducted by Mr Mayanglambam Ojit Kumar Singh who gave the students a brief talk on the role of insects as indicators in a restoring ecosystem. Using an insect specimen box, Mr Ojit also put on display some of the common insects of the DWP.
Overall, the event was a great learning experience for both the students and the CUES team. Events such as this are vital in spreading awareness among citizens about restoration science and its application in a city like Delhi which experiences several environmental challenges. We are hopeful that through this event, students are motivated to continue to actively contribute to projects such as the DWP restoration project.
Click here for pictures of the event