Being developed and constructed in conjunction with Auroville, the Coastal Eco-Education Centre (CEEC) is based on the very successful program implemented at Pitchandikulam Forests Resource Centre in Auroville. The (CEEC) will be set in a model coastal Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) plantation. It will consist 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’s groups, youth groups, and school children.
The centre will have dynamic outreach programmes to encourage green initiatives, such as indigenous tree plantations, medicinal plant gardens, kitchen herbal gardens, etc. It would act as a repository for local indigenous knowledge on the biota ecology of the region. It will also showcase appropriate local renewable technologies – such as wind and solar power generation – as well as modern adaptations of traditional solutions.
The ground-breaking ceremoney for the Centre took place on January 22nd and the team from Pitchandikulam are already hard at work in the area. Staff have been visiting and educating the children of the Uluru in coastal ecology, conservation and traditional medicine, and have also commenced visiting local primary schools. Local youth and women are also working with Pitchandikulum staff, learning how they can use indegenous flora to assist them in their daily lives.
For more information about this important work, please visit the Pitchandikulam website: http://www.pitchandikulam.org/