Friday, January 4, 2013

KV students set up butterfly park

Inspired by photographs shot by a teacher, they planted several host plants to draw the beautiful insects to their school sprawled on 500-acre campus at Jalahalli

Unlike most children who are inclined towards games and gizmos, a bunch of students of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Jalahalli have set up a park to conserve butterflies. They took their cue from some beautiful photographs shot by their teacher Ashok Sengupta. 


They have planted several plants that attract butterflies on a five-acre portion of the school premises, leaving even the forest department impressed.
The school had set up a butterfly club in 2009, but it was meant only for the documentation of butterflies, rather than conservation. Principal G P Selvam told Bangalore Mirror, “The club was started owing to Ashok Sengupta’s interest in the field.
“But 2012 was different. Many students evinced interest and began exploring scientific aspects of the butterfly and its conservation. This prompted us to take up butterfly conservation in a big way.”
The school is located on a 500-acre campus of the Indian Air Force (IAF). “Over the years, there has been a steady increase in the butterfly population on the campus. We decided to provide them with suitable conditions to reproduce in a scientific way,” explained Sengupta who is also a member of the Travancore Natural History Society (TNHS).
Butterflies’ reproduction is plant specific. Each species lays eggs on certain plants, called host plants. The students and faculty realised that the campus lacks sufficient number of host plant species.&nbsp
“We sourced host plants from the forest department, which functions next to our campus. We planted more than 25 species of host plants. As rains and climatic changes could damage the eggs, we collect them and keep it in boxes till they all hatch and develop into larva. Once the butterflies come out, we release them into the garden,” Sengupta told   Bangalore Mirror.



These efforts have resulted in the campus having more than 80 species of butterflies.
“Students have been divided into various teams. As and when they get time in the middle of their school time-table, they rush to the garden and help maintain the plants. This apart, they also get an opportunity to understand the life cycle of butterflies.
“Enriched with this knowledge, our students have taken part in several workshops and conferences with entomologists of the University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS). They have even made presentations at workshop conducted by the forest department,” Selvam told Bangalore Mirror.

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