The Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station is arguably one of the busiest locations in the city. For the officials of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB), that certainly was the reason for conducting the ‘Biodiversity Fortnight’ exhibition on Platform No.1.
Inaugurated on Wednesday, marking International Day for Biological Diversity, the exhibition will last for two weeks, until World Environment Day, on June 5.
“We wanted to get as much exposure as possible and these exhibits will be seen by lakhs by the end of the fortnight,” said KSBB Chairman Oommen V. Oommen, adding that the logistics and resources required for another venue would have been ten-fold and the impact far less.
The focus was clearly on the ecological diversity of Kerala, touching upon vital environmental issues and showcasing the unique pattern of life forms within the State borders.
A small team from the KSBB arranged pictures on the walls of the platform in just four days. The panels pose no hindrance to movement, yet instantly capture the attention of those not in a hurry. Showcased against woven cane drops, each has been dedicated to a Class of species.
Six-year-old Arjun was transfixed by the ‘Insects of Kerala’ section, particularly a photograph of the Malabar Damselfly. Pictures of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, taken by those associated with the KSBB, are exhibited. In addition, informative panels on the danger of extinction faced by certain species of frogs; the sacred groves of Keralal; the traditional varieties of rice and bananas; and the quality of indigenous medicinal plants are also on display.
Rajendran was due to board a train bound for Chennai shortly but he had to pause to study a panel right beside the entrance that bore details of those fruit trees found commonly around households here. They adapt easily and are not high-maintenance and yet it is hard to imagine a childhood without the ‘chambakka’ or ‘anjili chakka,’ he said. The scientific names of these fruits are displayed, along with their benefits.
The KSBB is conducting the exhibition under the patronage of the National Biodiversity Authority and with the support of the Social Forestry Wing and Indian Railways.