By Our Chief Reporter
PANAJI (GOA): A unique and first of its kind photography competition titled “Bhirmut: Dragonfly Photography Competition” highlighting the lesser known insect Odonates, that include dragonflies and damselflies was organized by Goa based organization Foundation for Environment Research and Conservation in association with Voluntary Health Association of Goa, WWF- India (Goa office)and supported by Go Green Foundation, Pune. Foundation for Environment Research & Conservation is a young organization set-up by professionals in the field of ecology, wildlife, agriculture, social work, education with the objective of fostering an informed society that gives importance to knowledge based decision making.
The competition received huge support from enthusiastic nature lovers in Goa and a total of 53 entries from across the state were received. Entries were judged by noted photographers of Goa, Assavri Kulkarni and Arnold Noronha to pick three winners from all the entries received. The entries were evaluated based on “interesting behavior” of these insects captured through the photographs and the photograph quality of the entries.
Winners of the competition Swati Hiremath (first), Marcos P. M. Gomes (second) and Akshatra Pracy Fernandes (third) were felicitated on 21 March 2018 at a grand function, organized in WWF- India (Goa Office), by chief guest of the function, Shri. Ajai Saxena, Principle Chief Conservator of Forests, Goa Forest Department. The function was also graced by the presence of Shri. Suhas Godse, Chairman of Expert Appraisal Committee- Goa State Pollution Control Board and President, Vigyan Parishad Goa, Mr. Nirmal Kulkarni, Member of Goa State Biodiversity Board, Mr. Pankaj Lad, President of Goa Bird Conservation Network and representatives from Environment Conservation and Research Organization. The function was also attended by more than 60 wildlife and nature lovers.
Parag Rangnekar, President of Foundation for Environment Research and Conservation while introducing the guests and addressing the gathering explained “The aim of this competition was to sensitize and spread awareness regarding the conservation of dragonflies and damselflies while stressing the need to conserve their habitat.”
Coralie D’Lima, Senior Program Coordinator (Marine Conservation) at WWF India, Goa office highlighted their efforts towards marine ecosystem conservation announcing new projects that will be launched from the Goa office, and exciting outreach activities like the monthly intertidal marine walks.
Raj Vaidya, President Voluntary Health Association of Goa in his address to the gathering explained “Human health and environment are very closely linked. Insects like dragonflies and damselflies are important bio-control agents and help in prevention of various dangerous diseases like malaria and dengue.”
Chief Guest of the function Shri Ajai Saxena in his address to the gathering highlighted the vital role Odonates play in our environment as indicators of ecosystem health while explaining “youth of Goa are the future of this land and have the great responsibility of conserving the state’s natural habitats and its beautiful wildlife. To achieve this, the first step is, to be responsible citizens and adopt solid waste management practices and waste segregation at point sources like our house. This would automatically ensure that the quality of our natural surroundings and habitat for wildlife are maintained.” During his address, he also extended his support to the youth of Goa who want to help in conservation of Goa’s natural heritage and wildlife.
The photo exhibition at WWF India, Goa office, will be open to public till 23 March 2017 and is open to all.