It was a sunny morning on 28th September 2009. I headed towards east in one of the estuarine canal of Koraiyar creek with 26 students from Rajamadam School . They are all from 11th standard NSS members. As the continution of this year environmental education field trips, OMCAR Foundation has invited these students for this Mangrove Ecology Education Field Trip in Muthupet mangrove reserve forest.
The forest has been changing slowly in the recent decades. Mysterious dieback of mangroves in some areas are threatening the mangroves, at the same time the exotic plants P.juliflora is spreading along the banks of the Koraiyar Creek.
Zonation (formation of zones) of mangrove forest has been slowly changed in the landward side of the mangrove forest due to shrimp farms and P.juliflora. I expect that in the next 10 years there is no space for Thillai maram (E.agallocha) in the forest as most of its distribution is already dominated by P.juliflora.
After an hour long trip along the Koraiyar creek we have landed on Chief corner that is located on the meeting point of Koraiyar creek and Mullipallam lagoon (lagoon is the salwater lake located adjacent to sea).
I delivered a field lecture to the students about global, national and state mangroves, conservation and threats. Topic slowly moved towards local mangroves and restoration efforts. Then the students were asked to observe the special morphological characters of mangroves and salt marshes.
This one day long trip help to convey the importance of mangrove conservation and its benefits to local socity - one of the objective of OMCAR Foundation.