The UN’s convention on biodiversity, the 11th Conference of the Parties, was held in Hyderabad from October 8 - 19, 2012. As a curtain raiser for the big event, a series of awareness programmes on 'Urban Biodiversity' were organised in Bangalore, by ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment), INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), Citizen Matters and Red Frames, from 4th - 7th October.
We at GreenScraps, were honoured to conduct a nature journaling workshop, as one of the preceding events to the conference. On a Sunday morning, 7th October, a bunch of us gathered at the Puttenhalli lake at JP nagar. After a brief introduction about ATREE by Harini Nagendra and INTACH by Aravind, the doodling took over. As we were at a lake, the day was about the lake ecology. Sketchbooks and pencils in hand, we observed the lake, the plants and the birdlife. With a few initial activities to start with, we sketched leaves and seedpods... further on, to weeds that were threatening the life of the lake.
We stood facing the lake and all we could see was a carpet of green... the lake was infested with the overgrown giant Salvinea (Salvinia molesta). An aquatic fern that it is, shares an interesting story of its own.We got a few of these free-floating fronds to observe up-close and sketch. As pretty as it might be, for its uncontrolled growth, its banned as a weed.... a threat to any lake ecosystem. The rooted emergent, Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides), formed a dense interwoven mat around the Salvinia, enacting another role of a characteristic weed. Even these we observed, sketched and recorded. There were many other weeds all around, hindering the healthy existence of the lake and its inhabitants. All this because of the nutrient rich water. And the reason for this eutrophic condition in such lakes, are all human caused - the untreated, unchecked sewage and wastes that are allowed to flow in !
As we walked along the fenced, concrete path of the lake, we tried to take note and sketch anything that caught our attention. It was almost 11 and the sun was high up, but before we wound up for the day, we tried our hand with sketching the trickiest of all - birds - the purple moorhens that were trotting along the thick carpet of weeds.
Finally, to mark the end, Usha Rajagopalan made a brief mention about the concerns and efforts of the PNLIT (Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust) team, to restore and save the lake.