By Aaliya Mir
It has been almost a decade since Wildlife SOS started its program in Kashmir with the goal of education students and local people to have the conservation ethic. Adhering to its conservation work and outreach programs, Wildlife SOS held a one day work shop on November 13, 2013. The focus was on conserving birds in the Kashmir region.
Kashmir is infamous for being a bird paradise. The state has ove 250 species of birds and is home to thousands of migratory birds. The winter season is fast approaching in Kashmir and thousands of migratory birds will come to Kashmir from as far away as Siberia as well as other parts of the world. These migratory birds use wetlands in Kashmir as their transitory camps between September and October. In spring they once again are on the move and migrate long distances back to where they came from.
The objective of the workshop was to educate students about these visiting birds as well as familiarize them with the birds of the Kashmir Valley.
The workshop was attended by about 250 students of Green Valley Educational Institute. During the day long workshop,the students were made aware about the rich avifauna of the state, both residential and migratory. Speaking on the occasion, Aaliya Mir, Education Officer for Wildlife SOS provided information about the evolution of birds. Tracing their beginnings back to reptiles and their development of feathers from scales. She also highlighted their physiological and morphological characteristics, adaptations, patterns of flight and their importance in our ecosystem.
During the workshop, the students learned about the various aspects of the birds lifecycle including their feeding habits, ecological niche and migration patterns. It is hoped that the students took away an appreciation for the birds in the region and a sensitivity to the complexity of their ecosystems that need conservation.
The final part of the workshop was acquainting the students with the birds of Kashmir valley both residents and migratory, their English, scientific and vernacular names. A questionnaire was given at the end to help determine how much information the students retained from the workshop about the Avifauna.
It was very encouraging to observe that the workshop was a success. The students were very enthusiastic and appreciative about the information provided and we look forward to providing more learning opportunities like these in the future.