Coastal Environment Education Centre: Background
Developed and constructed in conjunction with Pitchandikulam Bio Resource Centre – Auroville, the Coastal Environment Education Centre (CEEC) is based on the very successful programme implemented at Pitchandikulam Forests Resource Centre in Auroville (http://www.pitchandikulam.org/). Built on Foundation land near Uluru Children’s Home (UCH), the CEEC is set in what will eventually become a model coastal Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) plantation.
CEEC consists of an interpretation centre which will act as a centre of excellence to explain the dynamics of coastal ecosystems (sea, estuary, mangroves, sand dunes, freshwater and TDEF interface). Primarily a learning centre for local school groups and a means of tackling environmental concerns in the area, the centre will also be set up to promote sustainable farming and fishing techniques. Similar to the environment education facility the team has set up at the nearby Nadukuppam Government High School (see http://www.pitchandikulamforest.org/cms/content/view/35/45/), the Centre will also focus on restoring the natural habitat of the area from which the local community has much to benefit. A nursery will be established for the indigenous coastal plant species which will act as a training centre for women in the community, youth, children at UCH and local school children.
The centre will have dynamic outreach programmes to encourage green initiatives, such as indigenous tree plantations, medicinal plant gardens, and kitchen herbal gardens. It will act as a repository for local indigenous knowledge on the biota ecology of the region. It will also showcase appropriate local renewable technologies – wind and solar power generation – as well as modern adaptations of traditional solutions.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the centre took place on 22 January 2008 and the inauguration of the near-complete centre on 6 October 2008. Staff have been visiting and educating the children of UCH in coastal ecology, conservation and traditional medicine, and have also commenced visiting local primary schools. Local youth and women are also working with the staff from Pitchandikulum learning and familiarising themselves with the use of indigenous flora to assist them in their daily lives.
For more information about the current and planned activities at CEEC, please click here.