Project sites: Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra, India.


Introduction
Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) has been dedicated to nature conservation for the past 31 years, with the active involvement of local communities playing a pivotal role in our conservation efforts throughout this time. Recognizing the significance of local engagement, SNM has undertaken various initiatives aimed at educating students about the
natural environment that surrounds us, as they are the future custodians of our ecosystem. The project work was conducted in Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra, India,
Project overview. The project has successfully completed several key activities including beneficiary selection, education and awareness, camera installation and trapping, Data retrieval
and identification. This project provided students with hands-on experience in handling scientific equipment and allowed them to immerse themselves in the beauty of our natural world.

1. Beneficiary Selection and Documentation:
 The project began by identifying and selecting suitable schools based on criteria such as student count, habitat proximity, and location.
 Initially planned for four schools, the project was streamlined to two schools –New English School, Karambavane, and Yashawant Vidyalaya Dhamand.
2. Education and Awareness Programs:
 SNM conducted two awareness and educational programs, including PowerPoint presentations and documentary screenings.
 Nature trails were organized to immerse students in observing the local flora and fauna, fostering curiosity and interest in conservation.
3. Camera Installation and Trapping:
 Training sessions were conducted for students in both schools, covering the deployment and retrieval of camera traps.
 Students themselves selected suitable spots for camera trapping, with the SNM team ensuring safety in collaboration with school staff and local government authorities.
4. Data Retrieval and Identification:
 After approximately 30 days, data from the camera traps was retrieved, and students were taught to identify captured animals.
 The SNM team delivered information about birds and animals captured in the camera traps, fostering a hands-on learning experience.

 

Project Progress and Achievements:

Despite initial delays, the project has made significant progress. Students successfully captured rare mammals in camera traps, showcasing their dedication to biodiversity conservation. The captured photographs were shared with school administrations and parents, generating positive feedback and support from stakeholders. The project's impact extends beyond schools, as students actively engage with their parents and community members, strengthening the human-wildlife relationship.

Acknowledgments:
SNM expresses gratitude to DMCC Speciality Chemicals for their constant support throughout the project. The collaborative efforts of all stakeholders contribute to the success of the "Student Initiative to Explore Biodiversity" project, marking a step forward in SNM's continued commitment to nature conservation in the Konkan region.