Dr. Kamal Bawa honoured by the American Philosophical Society and Concordia University

ATREE President, Dr. Kamal Bawa, was elected to the American Philosophical Society recently. Based in Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society is the oldest learned society in the United States and was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. The Society has approximately 1,000 elected Members, of which 150 are International Members from more than two dozen countries. Dr. Bawa was honoured by the Society for his work on sustainability science.

Dr. Bawa will also receive an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from Concordia University, Montreal, when he delivers the convocation address to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on June 10, 2019.
Dr. Veena Srinivasan Delivers the Prince Claus Chair Inaugural Lecture

ATREE Fellow, Veena Srinivasan, gave the Prince Claus Chair Inaugural Lecture on - 'Looking into the crystal ball: Anticipating and influencing change in Asian Deltas' at the Utrecht University, Netherlands recently.

Veena Srinivasan, who leads the Water, Land and Society Programme at ATREE, was appointed to the Prince Claus Chair at Utrecht University, Netherlands and the inaugural lecture was part of the celebrations associated with the appointment.
The Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity is held alternately by Utrecht University and the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. It is established to advance research and education in the field of international development and equity.

Veena is actively involved in research on sustainable and inclusive food production in Asian delta regions. Through her research, she aims to make the land use in the deltas sustainable so that there is room for food production and urbanisation. She will also explore how land use can better anticipate changing circumstances due to droughts, floods and urbanisation.
Vembanad Fish Count 2019
ATREE CERC organized the 12th edition of Vembanad Fish Count (VFC) from May 29th, 2019 to May 31st, 2019. An orientation session for the participants was held on the first day where they were provided information about the changes in the Vembanad lake ecosystem from pre-british times and the sampling methodology. The other two days of the fish count saw the participation of over 100 volunteers. 
The main mission of VFC is to identify various species of fish in Vembanad Lake and create awareness about the dwindling fish diversity in this region.The fish count took place in three divisions of southern region and three divisions of northern region of the lake. In the southern region teams covered Thanneermukkom, Kayipuram and Alappuzha.In northern region the VFC was conducted in Arookutty Murinjapuzha and High Court. The previous Fish Counts have revealed a constant decline in the diversity of almost all kinds of fin and shell fishes, pointing to increasing pollution of the lake. This year too a similar trend was observed. 98 species of fish were found this time while last year 117 fish species were recorded. 50 types of fish were found in the northern part of Thanneermukkom bund, 48 types were seen in the southern part.

It is estimated that a total of 7,500 tonnes of fish wealth in the lake is depleting every year. 

The VFC also included a survey where fishermen one of the primary stakeholders provide information about the state of fisheries in this region. Water quality testing was also done to assess the health of the ecosystem as it is a crucial indicator of species diversity. In the VFC tests were conducted to ascertain the DO, pH, salinity, water and air temperature, turbidity, water odour and colour. 

VFC is organised in collaboration with Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean studies (KUFOS), India Biodiversity Portal, and Samyuktha Vembanad Kayal Samrakshana Samithi (SVKSS). It is supported by Antrix Corporation as part of its CSR initiative.
ATREE Seminar on Sustainable Development and Conservation at Naropa Fellowship
The Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies conducted a seminar on Sustainable Development and Conservation at Naropa Fellowship, Ladakh from May 14th to May 23rd, 2019. The eight day seminar was designed to advance the first batch of Naropa fellows' comprehension of biological and cultural diversity of Himalayan ecosystems, ecosystem services and human well-being and opportunities for addressing issues in the Himalayas.

The seminar comprised classroom sessions as well as field activities for a holistic understanding of the Ladakh landscape. The courses taught were Eco-guides and Natural History, Phenology, Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being, Virtual Tours and Open Data Kit (ODK) and Climate Policy and Renewable Energy. 
ATREE at Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
ATREE Fellow, Dr. Priyanka Jamwal along with Prof. Laurence Carvalho from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) were part of the science seminar (SUNRISE NC Programme) where they shared results from their work on 'Enhancing Freshwaters in Rural and Urban India'. They spoke about the importance of developing water quality criteria for lakes using aquatic macrophyte and bird (abundance and diversity) as Biomarkers. 

Sumita Bhattacharyya, a PhD scholar at ATREE and Dr. Priyanka Jamwal were part of water quality training programme at Loch Leven, Edinburgh, Scotland. CEH has been monitoring aquatic macrophytes and water quality at Loch Leven for the past 50 years. They participated in the macrophyte and water quality survey at Loch Leven. The objective of the training was to learn and customise the techniques developed by CEH for the macrophyte and water quality monitoring at Loch Leven for conducting similar monitoring in Bangalore lakes. 
ATREE at the Global Land Programme's Fourth Open Science Meeting and the 
Basque Centre for Climate Change 

ATREE Distinguished Fellow, Sharachchandra Lele, gave a plenary keynote talk- 'Why bother about Land Use Change?' at the Global Land Programme's 4th Open Science Meeting, held in Bern, Switzerland, recently. He also gave a flash talk in an Immersive Parallel Session - 'Seeking Solutions: Land Systems Science at the Interface of Normative and Policy Concerns'.

Sharachchandra Lele also gave a seminar on 'Ecosystem Services, Climate Change, and the Environmentalists’ Paradox' at the Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain recently. In the seminar, he spoke about the about the strengths and limitations of the ecosystem services framework and the need for broadening of framework which the biophysical science (especially climate science) and political economy both call for.

ATREE Workshop for Farmers on Eco-friendly Farming Practices in Kuttanad
ATREE CERC in collaboration with Kerala State Agriculture Department organized a workshop on 'Environmental friendly farming practices for Kuttanad' on May 16th and May 17th, 2019 at Brookshore Hall, Moncompu.

The workshop aimed to address increased use of agrochemicals in agriculture fields and its likely consequences on the ecosystem and human wellbeing. The increase in the number of cancer patients in this region suggests overuse of chemicals and pesticides. 50 farmers from different areas of Kuttanad were invited to the workshop. These farmers will help spread awareness about eco-friendly farming practices among other farmers of Kuttanad. Experts from different departments like health and agriculture also led technical sessions.

The workshop concluded with a panel discussion which stated that there was a need to develop sustainable models to demonstrate eco-friendly farming practices in other parts of Kuttanad. 

Adv. U Prathibha, MLA, Kayamkulam, Jojo T D, project coordinator,ATREE CERC, Reema Anand, program officer, Ajitha MS, project director, Kerala Centre for Pest Control Management (KCPM), George K Mathai, Deputy Director, Extension & Training, Leelakrishnan, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Ramankary, and farmers, P A Thomas and John presided over the workshop.
 Wild Kidz Summer Camp 2019

ATREE's Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimutharu in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) organized the Wild Kidz ‘Summer Camp’ from May 10, 2019 to May 12th, 2019.The objective of the three-day camp was to increase awareness about environment and ecosystem services among schoool students. 

A guided nature trail was the highlight of the camp. Campers walked through dry deciduous forest stopping frequently to see and identify various birds and insects.  They saw a herd of Gaur (Bos gaurus), Bonnet Macaques (Macaca radiata), Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) and River Heliodor (Libellago sp.) among others. A presentations was given on ‘an introduction to the world of Butterflies’ which helped campers recollect the life cycle of butterflies and differentiate butterflies from moths.

Moth Screens were erected each night to facilitate two mothing sessions, in which life cycle, feeding habits of moths were discussed. The relationship between a prey and predator were explained to the campers through game sessions. The campers also interacted with the forest department officials to understand their role in protecting the forest. They got an opportunity to handle wildlife field equipment like Bat detectors, GPS, Anemometer, Binoculars, Magnifying lens and DBH tape.

ATREE Workshop on Disaster Preparedness

The District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Alappuzha, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ATREE CERC together organized a one-day student workshop on disaster preparedness with a special focus on monsoon related disasters recently.

The main objective of the workshop was to inculcate a culture of preparedness at the school/college level to tackle an  emergency situation. The workshop consisted of a series of interactive sessions on a range of topics like disaster management, fire and safety, emergency medical first aid and social mapping.

Chinthu C, Hazard Analyst, Disaster Management Authority took a session on disaster management while Rajan, Lead Fireman, Fire and Safety Dept. conducted an interactive session on fire and rescue. Demonstrations on first aid and CPR were also given.
Students and teachers from six Jalapadom habitat learning schools and St. Joseph College participated in the workshop.
Lake Protection Forum's Leadership Camp at Munnar
ATREE CERC organized a leadership camp for members of Lake Protection Forum (LPF) on May 26th and May 27th, 2019 at Munnar. The main aim of the camp was to build rapport among LPF members to ensure participation in LPF's future activities. This leadership camp was led by ATREE's Jojo TD and Vikhnesh K S. 

Jojo T D conducted a session on leadership quality development and Vikhnesh K S held a session on the importance of team spirit.
ATREE at International Workshop on Rural Water Quality and Management

ATREE Fellow, Durba Biswas, attended the International Workshop on Rural Water Quality and Management (RWQM-2019) from May 14th to May 16th, 2019 at IIT Kharagpur. This workshop organized by IIT Kharagpur and the University of Edinburgh (UoE) is part of a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary drive for better rural water quality and management.

It brought together scientists, engineers, social scientists, social workers as well as people from the industry in India and abroad to discuss ideas for the promotion socially inclusive development.
ATREE Celebrates International Day of Biological Diversity
ATREE CERC, SD Library and Muhamma grama panchayat together observed the International Day of Biological Diversity at SD Library Hall, Muhamma on May 22nd, 2019.

DR. M. Raveendran, Scientist, JNTBGRI, Thiruvanathapuram conducted a class on conservation of biodiversity in sacred groves. A field trip to Illathukavu sacred grove was also organised where Dr. Raveendran interacted with the participants and showed them its rich biodiversity. It was followed by a discussion on the ecological importance of sacred groves. The initiative ended with a plastic cleaning drive in the sacred grove.

                                     ATREE Organizes Green 'Walk-Stop-Talk' at KMTR
ATREE’s Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre, Manimutharu in collaboration with Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve organized the Green ‘Walk-Stop-Talk’, a half-day hike at Mundanthurai, on May 31st, 2019. A group of 25 students  from the Youth of Kodaganallur Endeavour (YOKE) Society, Kodaganallur, participated in the hike. 

ATREE researchers provided information about several biological phenomenon like mimicry, camouflage, pollination and parasitism. The participants were also able to sight Green-vine Snake (Ahaetulla nasuta), Millipedes (Spinotarsus colosseus), Owlfly and South Eastern Langurs. They learnt about the effects of biomagnification on the food chain. They also visited ‘Kayal’, an eco-park, where they were introduced to several native and exotic fish species of KMTR. 
Prof. Larry Swatuk at ATREE
Prof. Larry Swatuk, Professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo, Canada, was in ATREE for a month as the Bawa Family Fund Visiting Fellow.

Prof. Swatuk, a leading expert on the politics of water, offered an elective course, 'Water and Security' at ATREE. The course served as an introduction to theoretical, conceptual, and practical issues around water and security with a particular focus on the global South. The aim of the course was to equip students with the necessary tools for more economically efficient, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable water policy. The course highlighted a number of key issues: how is water embedded in conflict and cooperation particularly at the inter-state level? How should we approach water security? How does water contribute to food and household security? Is access to water best addressed by treating water as a human right or an economic good? What are the appropriate institutions for ensuring water security?

Prof. Swatuk also gave a public talk at ATREE on - 'Countering the Boomerang Effect: Examining Climate Change Mitigation/Adaptation Pathways to Security in South Africa and Brazil with Lessons for India'. The talk critically and comparatively reviewed climate action programmes in Brazil and South Africa along two pathways: a green water pathway (e.g. biofuel development) and a blue water pathway (e.g. dam building for 'green energy').
ATREE Conducts Citizen Science Workshop at Tezpur
ATREE conducted a citizen science workshop on 'Exploring the Treasure Trove of Insects' at the Green Hub Festival  at Tezpur, Assam recently. The workshop was part of a Department of Biotechnology funded project - 'Bioresources and Sustainable Livelihoods in Northeast India'. The project is an initiative towards strengthening both Science and Sustainable Development in Northeast India. 

The workshop had lectures by Dr. Prathapan K. D, Kerala Agricultural University and ATREE's Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan and Seena Narayanan. Besides lectures which were attended by over 200 participants, the workshop also had a field component with a selected group of participants. They were showed ways to collect insects and identify them. A separate laboratory session was also conducted to identify insects. 
This workshop was organised along with Green Hub (GH), which trains youth from the Northeast Region (NER) for conservation action and social change through the digital medium. The GH festival is an annual conservation programme that aims to raise awareness, celebrate, debate and examine environment and conservation vis-à-vis other critical issues. This year’s theme, Youth for Forests' focused on forests as key to ecological security and healing, for both people and wildlife. ATREE participated in the festival to introduce the world of insects and their role in forests and food security. 
ATREE Celebrates Menstrual Hygiene Day
ATREE CERC celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene day on May 28th, 2019 at Aryakkara School, Muhamma. This event was part of the sustainable menstruation initiatives undertaken by ATREE CERC. It aimed to address menstrual waste management and proper disposal of sanitary pads.

It included a session by doctors on the health issues associated with improper usage of sanitary pads.  It was followed by a detailed session describing the journey of a sanitary napkin and its role and impact on both women and environment by ATREE intern, Devika Jayssell. Cloth pads at Rs. 200 for a set of four and menstrual cups at Rs. 100 per cup were provided to women and new orders for the same accepted.

The initiatives of ATREE CERC have made Muhamma the first plastic sanitary pad free panchayat
Climate Launchpad Kerala Bootcamp for Clean-Tech Startups
ATREE CERC and SUSTERA Foundation organized the Climate Launchpad (CLP) Kerala Bootcamp to support clean-tech entrepreneurs on May 25th and May 26th, 2019 at Kanthari Campus in Trivandrum. Startups from across Kerala underwent intensive training. 11 startups were selected out of the 38 applications from Kerala. All the 11 startups will be provided mentorship for a period of three months and one team will go to the global finals in Amsterdam.

Climate Launchpad (CLP) is a three-month climate and clean-tech startup accelerator program initially funded by the European Union. It began in 2014 and is now present in over 45 countries.
ATREE Signs MOU with S.D College on Value Addition of Aquatic Weeds
ATREE CERC signed a MOU with Centre for Research on Aquatic Resources (CRAR), S.D College, Alappuzha on May 29th, 2019.

The MOU is for skill training and technology transfer to create products from Water hyacinth. Under the MoU, training will be provided to selected women entrepreneurs from Muhamma grama panchayat on technologies such as mushroom cultivation using Water hyacinth as bedding material, preparation of biomass briquettes using dried water hyacinth, and Water hyacinth pulp based products. The Water hyacinth based products were developed by Dr. G. Nagendra Prabhu of CRAR.

ATREE CERC is currently running a CSR project funded by Antrix Corporation in Muhamma. ATREE will help set up small scale units for making value added products from aquatic weeds.
ATREE at the Centre for Himalayan Studies
ATREE's Urbashi Pradhan was part of the Friday Colloquium at the Centre for Himalayan Studies recently. She gave a talk on 'Forest Fragmentation and Ecosystem Service in Sikkim Himalaya'. Studies have highlighted the significance of forest fragments interspersed with human dominated landscape, bringing people close to forests, resulting in enhanced flow of ecosystem services.

The talk focusing on ecosystem services took an interdisciplinary approach to understand the role of forest fragments in provisioning ecosystem services to local communities in the Mandarin orange belt of Sikkim Himalayas. 
ATREE's Abi Vanak and Ramya Ravi explore why Maldharis in Banni, despite being historically resilient to droughts and capable of managing scarcity are unable to do so this time. Read More...
ATREE's Mridula Paul asserts that unlike the rest of the world, India is stridently moving away from community-involved conservation models. Read More...
ATREE's Priya Ranganathan​ describes the terrible consequences of unregulated Tiger tourism in Ranthambore. Read More...
ATREE's Durba Biswas in a commentary writes about the need to design transgender-inclusive sanitation which examines the role of caste, gender, and age within the transgender community. Read More...
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