“I want an Italian Basil!” This was not an order to a local vegetable vendor, these were children between the ages of five and 15 fighting over kitchen plants to grow in their house.
The Earth Mela, held in Mahim’s Maharashtra Nature Park over the weekend, saw over 1,000 children and adults learning and embracing nature through organic farming and lectures on the history of conservation of our rich flora and fauna.
The event was graced by well-known faces of environmental research and protection, who lectured the little ones on their field of expertise. Dr AJT Johnsingh, the former deputy director of the Wildlife Institute of India and teacher to many field biologists in the country, spoke to the children on the history of large mammal conservation.
“Our country is ahead of a lot of other countries in terms of wildlife conservation because the British were dedicated conservationists and world-class biologists. In their time here, they set the grounds for a proper reserve forest system that has fortunately continued. They also brought in medicines, which then led to the growth of our population that was previously under control because of diseases,” he said.
Also enlightening the crowd was butterfly expert Issac Kehimkar of the Bombay Natural History Society, who said there are more than 1,500 species of butterfly in our country, of which 150 are found in city.
Children could be seen running around taking workshops in arts, crafts, organic farming, fruit carving and stray rescue.