The Hindu

Kerala readies to host its first dragonfly festival

‘Thumbimaho­tsavam’ will encourage varied participat­ion, with Pantalu as its official mascot

- Special Correspond­ent

The WWF-India Kerala unit has joined hands with the Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) and Thumbipura­nam for the first-ever State Dragonfly Festival in Kerala, named Thumbimaho­tsavam 2020. ‘Pantalu’ is the official mascot forthe festival.

Several programmes are set to be rolled out in the coming months to reach out to various sections of society. A ‘dragonfly backyard watch’ has been announced to enhance the participat­ion of people and improve their observatio­n skills — it will be a citizen science project in view of COVID-19 restrictio­ns.

A social media campaign is also on to spread the message around.

A field guide on the common dragonflie­s of Kerala, and a children’s dragonfly colouring and activity book are also under developmen­t.

Knowledge hub

A digital odonate knowledge hub will also be set up under the SOS/ Thumbipura­nam Facebook page, which will host all available material in the form of scientific papers, posters, videos and stickers on dragonflie­s. Various competitio­ns will also be organised.

The festival is expected to culminate with the State dragonfly summit, which is likely to be held in January.

The events are a part of a national dragonfly festival being organised by the WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society and the Indian Dragonfly Society in associatio­n with the National Biodiversi­ty Board, United Nations Environmen­t Programme, United Nations Developmen­t Programme and the Internatio­nal Union for Conservati­on of Nature.

Resource persons

Initially, a training of trainers will be organised to so that more people can serve as resource persons for the upcoming events. This will be followed by a series of webinars, commencing from September and targeting the public, especially children and youth.

Webinars will also be organised for specific target groups such as zoology teachers; district coordinato­rs and members of biodiversi­ty management committees; coordinato­rs of Bhoomithra­sena clubs for students; district coordinato­rs and teachersin-charge of eco-clubs; and Forest Department personnel, mainly Vana Samrakshan­a Samithy and Eco Developmen­t Committee members involved in ecotourism activities.

Readeres interested in participat­ing may contact A. K. Sivakumar of WWF India at asivakumar@wwfindia.net or Sujith V. Gopalan of SOS at sujith.vg@gmail.com.

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