On 15 September 2018, the CUES team hosted a group of about 80 students and 10 faculty members from Delhi University’ Ramjas College at the Dheerpur Wetland Park (DWP). The students, who were pursuing their final-year in Zoology Honors were visiting the DWP restoration project as part of their field module. After a very brief welcome by the Director of CUES, Dr Suresh Babu, the students were divided into three sub-groups and engaged in a bird-watching activity. Each of the three sub-groups was accompanied by two CUES research team members who introduced the students to the basics of birdwatching. Besides familiarising them with birdwatching instruments such as binoculars and spotting scopes, students were taught how to spot and identify several wetland and terrestrial bird species with the help of a bird book. 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), Jacobin Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus), Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) and White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis).
After the bird-watching activity was a brief tea-break and an interactive session with Dr Babu who spoke about the DWP project, and the intricacies of a Restoration Ecology project in the city. The students also had an opportunity to view architectural plans and pictorial representations of the progress of the DWP project since its inception. The last event of the day was a session conducted by Mr Mayanglambam Ojit Kumar Singh on insects. Mr Ojit spoke about the role of insects as indicators of a restoring ecosystem, and also assisted the students in identifying some of the common insects found in the DWP.
Hosting the field visit for the students of Ramjas College was an enriching experience for CUES, and it was indeed very satisfying to invest our time and knowledge in a purposeful and energetic group of young students. We hope to have many more such interactions in the future and engage the society in our endeavour to restore the wetlands of Dheerpur.
Click here for pictures of the event