The butterfly festival of Vagar (Rajasthan, India) - Conservation education through Citizen Social Responsibility

CEESP News - Dr. Satya Prakash Mehra, Advisor-RSNH & Member CEESP

The butterfly festival, a conservation education initiative of the India-based NGO Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH), aims to revive the symbiotic relationship of Nature and Human (Prakruti Purush) as per the Eco-Culture of India. It was organized in the Vagar Region (Rajasthan, India) with the participation of children and other citizens.  

The Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH) is engaged in the conservation of natural resources through community participation. RSNH focuses on the sensitization and mobilization of the future generation through practical approaches of environmental education. With the aim of reviving Eco-Culture of India on the principle of the symbiotic relationship of Nature and Human (Prakruti Purush), the subject experts of the Team RSNH planned a series of conservation programs emphasizing every component of Nature, as per availability and the seasonal cycle. The Bird Fairs are the regular event in different areas of the largest State of India, Rajasthan. The Butterfly Festival is another step in this direction; it was organized to make citizens realize the importance of this eye-catching beautiful organism.

With the support of the Department of Forests (Government of Rajasthan) represented by Dr. Sarath Babu (IFS), the event was organized through participation of the local citizens at the greater level. Through Audio-Visual presentations, field visits and live demonstration of the Life-Cycle of the common species of the local area, the event gave a new direction to the conservationists and the scientific community to involve and encourage Citizen Social Responsibility (CiSR).

Participants learned about local butterfly diversity (~100 species) from the experts, Mr. Mukesh Panwar and Dr. Pratiksha Patel. Along with live Life-Cycle demonstration of seven butterfly species, the Thematic Philately (Stamps on Butterfly) was another point of attraction. Mrs. Pushpa Khamesra and Mr. Ravi Khamesra have a collection of over half a million postal stamps from all over the world, with approximately 25,000 stamps depicting Nature and its component. Around 2,000 stamps focus exclusively on butterflies and were displayed during the event. Involvement of over 300 children from six schools along with an equal number of other citizens made the relevance of the event. Mr. Kamlesh Sharma, Asst. Director representing media from the local governance, stated the event as a breakthrough in the region in the direction of conservation of local heritage. The sensitization of the mass could be justified by the involvement of the local ownership of the event. The venue selected for the event, viz., Dhanraj Farm, is an example of organic agriculture practices in the region and received importance of conservation practices to retain butterflies. Maharana Pratap School offered the logistics during the event. The leaflet of butterfly diversity prepared by Mr. Mukesh Panwar was distributed among the participants.  

The butterfly festival of Vagar (Rajasthan, India) Photo: Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH)

In continuation of conservation education, local organizers Mr. Ilesh Sharma and Mr. Pankaj Swarnkar inducted the steps to extend the consistent steps towards practical exposure of the children in upcoming events on herpetofauna in Vagar Region. Dr. Sarita Mehra, SG & CEO, RSNH briefed the schedule of the RSNH which focused on conservation education. Mr. Himmat Ram Kumhar, SPO, RSNH had assured for inclusion of such events as a regular part of the module of the RSNH Nature School (Prakrutishala) running in rural areas for school children through support of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), which is soon going to be extended throughout the State.

In the concluding remarks from Ms. Venika Panwar, Class V standard had exemplified the children by showing her knowledge on the butterfly gained from the elders. Similarly, children learned a new perspective of their career in the field of conservation and subject expert in the local area.

Launching the Butterfly Leaflet by Dr Sarath Babu Photo: Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH)

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