GUWAHATI, March 7 - During every morning assembly, school students in the fringe areas of Manas National Park nowadays take a pledge to protect the Manas landscape.
The unique initiative is part of Aaranyak�s Manas Tiger Conservation Programme (MTCP) that aims at ensuring a holistic conservation and protection of Manas National Park and engage with communities to increase their participation in protection of the park.
�MTCP has initiated a well-planned and carefully designed programme to reach various target groups and all other stakeholders in the landscape. To bring more effectiveness to this effort of educating the people on conservation and thereby helping to build an ecologically sound mindset, different target specific activities have been initiated,� Dr Sudip Kanta Basistha, deputy project manager, Manas Tiger Conservation Programme, said.
Under the project, 63 schools have been identified in the fringe areas of MNP, covering Baksa and Chirang districts, to initiate an effective conservation education programme among the students. Among many activities involving students, teachers, members of school managing committees (SMCs), communities, a conservation oath is also conceptualised and being started among the students, Basistha added.
According to the academic calendar of the education department of the Government of Assam, 15 minutes are allotted for conducting the morning assembly in each and every school.
�Aaranyak explored the possibilities of using those 15 minutes to give positive messages for the conservation of Manas. A seven-point oath has been developed focusing core conservation challenges in the Manas landscape. The oath taking programme is coordinated by members of student bodies. In many schools, community and SMC members are also present during the morning assembly session. So, the oath taking is also observed by them. It is expected that this oath taking will imbibe a pro-conservation mindset among the students and thereby help to secure a better future for the entire Manas landscape,� he said.