Wings Over Our Wetland

Start Date:26-Dec-2023

End Date:03-Jan-2024

Location:Society House

Institute:Svarnim Puducherry

Under the auspices of Sri Aurobindo Society, Svarnim Puducherry, Dr. Pankaj Khoparde, Assistant Professor at MIT-WPU, Pune, presented a webinar titled "Wings Over Our Wetland" on December 26, 2023, to introduce the upcoming Water Fest 2024. The webinar focused on the morphology, evolutionary history, and citizen science initiatives of dragonflies and damselflies, and their ecological significance. The Chatur Ullu Lab (CUL), a study group specializing in ecology and evolutionary biology, was established by Dr.Khoparde in 2019. CUL focuses on studying all aspects of the natural world, with a special focus on owls and dragonflies. The CUL actively participates in cooperative initiatives to enhance scientific knowledge and promote the ecological field.

The Wing Over Our Wetland webinar educated the 43 participants and discussed dragonflies and damselflies, their morphology, evolutionary history, ecological significance, and citizen science initiatives. It highlighted their role as indicators of wetland conditions and water pollution. The webinar also included an immersive field workshop on odonates in Bahour Lake, Puducherry.

Dr.Khoparde underlined the significance of dragonflies in assessing the health of wetland ecosystems and the purity of water, underscoring the necessity of regular evaluations. Positive comments were made about the webinar, and participants showed a desire to learn more about Bahour's extensive fieldwork. The success of the webinar proved the Puducherry Bioregion community's commitment to biodiversity and environmental awareness.

Follow-Up Seminar

Svarnim Puducherry organized a symposium as a follow-up to the Wings Over Our Wetlands webcast on December 27, 2023, under the umbrella of the Sri Aurobindo Society. The purpose of the conference was to educate participants on an in-depth evaluation of odonates and their ecological significance, with an emphasis on water pollution monitoring and wetland conditions. The symposium platform was effectively engaged by the renowned speaker, Dr. Pankaj Khoparde, an assistant professor at MIT-WPU, Pune.

The Wings Over Our Wetlands Follow-Up symposium, led by Dr. Pankaj Khoparde, aimed to increase community involvement in wetland conservation efforts. Dr.Khoparde talked about the life cycles of odonates, particularly dragonflies and damselflies, and their significance in ecological systems. He emphasized the significance of odonates in sustaining ecological balance, especially about the well-being of wetlands and the condition of water. He emphasized the use of odonates as biological indicators to track the health of wetlands because of their value as water quality indicators due to their sensitivity to environmental changes. The lecture enhanced conversations and information sharing by drawing together a varied audience interested in biology, environmental science, and wetland conservation.

The participant expressed gratitude for the discussion and intends to carry out additional research on odonates and wetland preservation. In 2024, Svarnim Puducherry intends to host an immersive field workshop as a part of the Water Fest. In preparation for the forthcoming immersive field initiative, the lecture's mission was to familiarize participants with the surrounding wetlands of the Pondicherry Bioregion.

Immersive Field Workshop on Odonates

The odonates workshop was carried out by Svarnim Puducherry on January 3, 2024, in Bahour Lake, located near the EramudiAyyanar Temple in Aranganoor.  The workshop was fully utilized by Dr. Pankaj Khoparade, the workshop coordinator. The intended goals of the field survey were to inform participants about the biology and morphology of odonates as well as to identify several species.

A workshop on the biology and morphology of odonates drew thirty participants, which included youngsters from the surrounding community, biological educators, and Svarnim Team members.Dr. Pankaj Khoparde highlighted the importance of the Wandering Glider to the Kerala Onam festival while providing insights into its movement habits. The fascinating voyage of these creatures from the west coast of India to the coast of Africa was explained to the participants. Dr.Khoparde stressed the need for public participation in citizen science initiatives and the significant role that individuals play in growing the scientific community. Dr. Pankaj Khoparde demonstrated the creatures using practical examples of damselflies and dragonflies. The participants received an explanation of several survey procedures, including point counts, transect walks, and random surveys. Dr. Pankaj, the workshop coordinator for odonates, split the participants into three groups and assigned each group a specific task to finish the odonate survey at Bahour Lake.

Twelve species of odonates were identified in the field survey: Common Picture Wing, Trumpet Tail, Senegal Golden Dart, Pygmy Dart, Pied Paddy Skimmer, Blue Ground Skimmer, Ruddy Marsh Skimmer, Three-Striped Blue Dart, Coromandel Marsh Dart, and Golden Dart.Dr. Pankaj shared with the participants an introduction to the iNaturalist data-collecting application.  Every group shared the results of their survey, along with images, geolocation information, and species of dragonflies.

In addition, the workshop recommended that a survey schedule be created regularly to keep an eye on dragonfly populations and participate in the national dragonfly monitoring program run by WWF. Include more elements of biodiversity, such as fish, birds, plants, and butterflies, into your survey activities. The results of this workshop on odonates will support conservation efforts and preserve the biodiversity of Bahour Lake.