Published: 30th April 2020
This Hyderabad NGO's plan for Int'l Biodiversity Day is strong. This is what it's all about
LEE Shreyus Foundation along with Telangana State Biodiversity Board have organised a series of online tasks which the participants can excel at and spread the word about conserving our biodiversity
It's okay to admit that you are running out of things to do during the lockdown. The NGO LEE Shreyus Foundation is aware of this too. The Hyderabad-based organisation that has been striving to conserve our precious biodiversity since before it was registered in the year 2014 has a brilliant plan to engage their target audience in a way they never have done before — through a series of online campaigns that teaches one several aspects of biodiversity until it reaches its crescendo on May 22, which is International Biodiversity Day. And to make this possible, they even have the Telangana State Biodiversity Board (TSBDB) on their side. Did this pique your curiosity? Read on to find out more.
Flashback mode on
"We wanted to curate a more realistic campaign this time and since we are all trapped inside our homes, we thought going online would be the best way," says Founder and Secretary of LEE Shreyus Foundation, A Uma Shankar Kumar. Some of the massive campaigns they have done in the past include planting 5,000 fruit plants in Bakaram, Telangana along with the NSS unit of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU-H), Hyderabad, conducting a state-level Haritha Haram (tree plantation drive launched by the Government of Telangana) that involved 150 students from over 21 universities, helping colleges with their green audit along with helping them segregate their waste, just like they helped CMR Group of Institutions.
One of the posts | (Pic: LEE Shreyus Foundation)
So this time, it had to certainly be bigger and they chose social media as their battleground. They opened applications for anyone who was interested in promoting the message on conservation in the days leading up to the International Biodiversity Day. The plan was simple. The participants, after selection, would be given three sets of simple do-it-at-home tasks and all they have to do is upload a picture of their completed task on social media with the hashtags #IBD2020, #TSBDB and #LSF. "We received an overwhelming response as almost 1,800 people registered with us and even youngsters from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu applied. But we had to limit the participants to 250 on a first-come-first-serve basis," says Kumar, who is an Assistant Professor at Sree Chaitanya Institute of Technological Sciences. While the registrations have closed and participants have been chosen, they are still encouraging others to use the hashtags, participate in the tasks and spread the word.
So, for the first set of tasks, which were given on April 23, the participants had to write about biodiversity and post it on social media. Then, they had the responsibility of identifying threats to it. The action-oriented tasks included clicking a picture of the biodiversity that visits your house, "It could be anything from an insect to a bird," says the professor enthusiastically and place some food and water for birds on your roof or in your balcony because, "Summers are here and they need our support," says Kumar who has won 48 awards as a former NSS student, including the Indira Gandhi NSS Award from former president Pranab Mukherjee and the National Youth Award from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.
A poster by a participant | (Pic: LEE Shreyus Foundation)
The second set of tasks the participants will receive in the first week of May include documenting traditional recipes and their ingredients, a big part of preserving our culture and biodiversity, and finding out about the traditional medicines used for smaller ailments like cough, cold, stomach ache and such. The third set of tasks include writing about the unique aspects of our culture, say Bathukamma, which is the floral festival of Telangana. Then comes sharing the biodiversity conservation steps they one has adopted, like segregating waste and so on. "Remember, all of this needs to be posted online with the relevant hashtags," reminds the professor.
Aim for the biodiverse bull's eye
"It's all about spreading the word, honestly. Understanding different cultures, the nutritional value in our food and, of course, biodiversity!" exclaims the professor, who is quite excited about the project and is working with a three-member team, including himself, to make it a reality. So, how will it all conclude? "Well, things are uncertain because of the lockdown, but we want to pick three winners, invite them to TSBDB's office and give them certificates," says the professor. It was when he volunteered for COP 11 (the UN Convention on Biological Diversity) held in Hyderabad in 2012 and was vigorously trained for it for six months that he realised his passion for biodiversity. He hopes that similarly, others will identify the passion in themselves when they engage in such tasks as the foundation has organised. "Even if one or two people come out of this as citizens who are more conscious of our biodiversity and the need to conserve it, I will consider that our mission has been accomplished," he says concludes.