Friday 4th November is a special day during the Azim Premji University Rivers of Life exhibition, as Steve will host a 4-hour workshop (all times are Indian Standard Time +5.30 ahead of GMT) of talks on the theme of connections in aquatic landscape and biodiversity. The specific focus will be on the basin of the Kaveri River, home to the Critically Endangered hump-backed mahseer.
The exciting range of talks includes our field researcher, Dencin Rons Thampy discussing why Mullukuruma people of Wayanad see the hump-backed mahseer as a god. For more background info on the great work Dencin has been doing, have a read of Tales From Velimeen Land.
Other topics will make connections between river inhabitants like shrimps, turtles and insects to bankside dwellers including otters, trees, birds and people. How water is used and the impact this has on biodiversity will also feature, alongside a spotlight on some unique tools for freshwater conservation.
On the exhibition, Steve said: "I am amazed at the breadth of subjects being covered during the 15-days of this event. Not only great topics; also our Em2 river modelling table will be available for visitors to the university. This is a sure-fire winner among teachers and educators."
"APU offering to give Mahseer Trust a half-day slot to run a workshop on aquatic biodiversity within the landscape of the whole River Kaveri basin is greatly appreciated." Steve said. "Many thanks to Harini Nagendra and her team for making us feel very welcome and in particular to Kunal Sharma who has worked tirelessly as coordinator, all of the river modelling volunteers for taking time out for meetings and practise sessions, and also to Shashwat DC and Vipul Surendra Kumar for technical support."
Throughout the workshop, Prasad Natarajan of Artists for Wildlife and Nature will be giving tips about sketching while he does a study of a hump-backed mahseer. This was a worthy winner over a smooth-coated otter, a Kottegehar dancing frog and a pied kingfisher when we ran a social media poll to pick a subject.
Prasad's finished artwork will be used to help raise awareness about the status of hump-backed mahseer and to interest art students in studying freshwater species. More details to follow in our quarterly newsletter.
Art for conservation is a key part of how we try to work with people across communities. As Parineeta Dandekar of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People said in one of our Learn - Indian Freshwater Ecosystems' webinars: "science struggles to produce data for how people feel about rivers; art and literature does that job far better."
The workshop not only covers a wide range of conservation and biodiversity topics, it also reaches almost every region of the wider river basin. From the highest points of the main river and many tributaries right down to the fertile river delta, we have speakers with experience. Some of these represent large agencies, others are independent researchers and educators, or those working for smaller, yet no less important organisations.
Steve concluded: "I have seen the River Kaveri myself from source to sea and I have also visited many of the tributaries on my travels. It is vital that we not only view our own subject in microcosm but that we also see and value the bigger picture. My opening address will even include a fascinating glimpse of the effect of river flow on the sea and climate as I discussed recently with India's National Centre for Coastal Research."
Join the workshop live, help to share the details and let us work together for better river conservation. You can start by using these hashtags in any social media:
Then please sign up for our next newsletter, out in December, by filling the form at the foot of any page on our website. Among the topics of the next edition will be a review of this workshop, latest details about our forthcoming animation project, plus interviews about invasive fish, tee-shirts for fish conservation, pollution in Pakistan and more...