Friday, October 29, 2010


Nilgiri eastern slopes

I was coming back from Sathyamangalam on bike. As I climbed up to 1200 mtrs I could see a sea of cloud in the valley. I always wondered how clouds are formed and how they move with so much water...
Answer for my own doubts...
Ocean heat energy drives atmospheric circulation and weather patterns. As sea surface temperature increases, so does evaporation- the process through which oceans, release heat. The warmer an ocean, the more vapor there is in the air above it. The more vapor in the, the more rainfall (or snowfall) it generates. Cooler temperature yield less vapor, which can lead to droughts.

Weather forecasters rely on daily sea surface temperature to anticipate the behaviors of cyclones, which include tropical storms and hurricanes. These powerful storms draw energy from warm waters. Storm activity mixes surface and subsurface waters, drawing nutrients to the surface.

Geography Awareness Week 2010

Geography Awareness Week 2010 November 14-20: Fresh Water
Water is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. Of all the water on the planet, less than 1% is available for human use. Will we have enough to support a growing global population, and how will a changing climate affect access to freshwater around the world? Discover the fascinating geography of Earth's most precious natural resource through activities, multimedia, quizzes, and more this Geography Awareness Week—and learn what you can to do help, both globally and locally.
Launched in 1987 by presidential proclamation, Geography Awareness Week is an annual opportunity for families and schools to engage in fun, educational experiences that draw attention to Geo-Literacy and the importance of geographic understanding in ensuring our nation's economic competitiveness, national security, environmental sustainability, and the livability of our communities in the 21st century.

foxtail orchid

One of the beauties  of monsoon found near Appankappu Village Conservation Center (Appankappu, a village in the western slopes of the Nigiri Biosphere Reserve). Rhynchostylis retusa,  Foxtail Orchid is an exotic blooming orchid, belonging to Vanda alliance. Vanda is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae).The name "Vanda" is derived from the Sanskrit name for the species Vanda tessellata. These mostly epiphytic, but sometimes lithophytic or terrestrial orchids. One among the first orchid blooms during monsoon in the Western Ghats. This one is the state flower for Arunachal Pradesh and Assam both. Must for all the girls taking part in 'BIhu' dance, a folk dance from Assam related to the festival of Bihu.

Apis florea

We saw this honey bee colony when the village elder of Punanjanur took children to forest to share her experiences in the forest. Apis florea, is one of the small, wild honey bees of southern and southeastern Asia. The exposed single combs are on a small rock cliffs. Nest of A. florea consists of a single comb and upper part expands to form a crest and there they store honey.

Madamma is living in Punanjanur, Karnataka. She is one of the elder who take children to show how the life in the forest is. She is collecting wild honey and medicinal plants for subsistence use for many years.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Nilgiris

The most extensive eastern spurhill of the Western Ghats, the Nilgirs, is high steep plateau, rising from the edge of the Mysore plateau in the north and extending south up to Bhavani with its eastern end spproaching the Biligiri rangans, a part of the Eastern Ghats, north of Moyar. The southern edge of the Nilgiris along the Attapapady plateau rises up into Kunda Hills. The Silent Valley and Attapady forests are on the south-west corner and extensive forests draining in to Chaliyar cover most of the western slopes. The Nilgiri mountains are mostly in Tamil Nadu and only the south-western and western slopes are in Kerala.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ants and Larvae

Some larvae, especially those of the Lycaenidae, form mutual associations with ants. They communicate with the ants using vibrations that are transmitted through the substrate as well as using chemical signals. The ants provide some degree of protection to these larvae and they in turn gather honeydew secretions.

This relationship is known as symbiosis. The relation between two different species of organisms that are interdependent; each gains benefits from the other.


The peach tree (Prunus persica) is a species of Prunus native to China that bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach. It is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus within the genus Prunus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell. Peaches were mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the 10th century BC and were a favoured fruit of kings and emperors. Recently, the history of cultivation of peaches in China has been extensively reviewed citing numerous original manuscripts dating back to 1100 B.C. The peach was brought to India and Western Asia in ancient times.

Story: The peach often plays an important part in Chinese tradition and is symbolic of long life. One example is in the peach-gathering story of Zhang Daoling, who some say is the true founder of Taoism. Elder Zhang Guo, one of the Chinese Eight Immortals, is often depicted carrying a Peach of Immortality. Peach blossoms are highly prized in Chinese culture and because they appear before a single leaf has sprouted, the ancient Chinese believed the peach to possess more vitality than any other tree. When early rulers of China visited their territories they were preceded by sorcerers armed with peach rods to protect them from spectral evils. On the last day of the year local magistrates would cut peach wood branches and place them over their doors to protect against evil influences.

Bee colony

a colony generally contains one queen bee,
a fertile female; seasonally up to a few thousand drone bees or fertile males; and
a large seasonally variable population of sterile female worker bees.


What is a bee?

Social living
Produces honey
Live in combs
Six legs
Four wings

Conservation Education Network

CONSERVATION EDUCATION NETWORK Third Annual Retreat, Kotagiri, Nilgiris.

A net work of conservation educators was created in 2008; ATREE took the initiative to start this group. The first meeting of the group was at Navadarshanam Trust Ganganahally hamlet Gumalapuram Village in Krishnagiri Dist T.N. Main functions of Conservation Education group is to link up for ideas, resources, sharing and help likeminded people. The members of the group are working in various parts of India. ATREE Bangalore, NCF Mysore, Kalpavriksh, Pune,Zoo outreach Coimbatore, SACON Coimbatore, Samrakshan Mizoram, Keystone Foundation,Kotagiri and MAN Mysore etc are few examples of the member organizations. The second retreat was held in Auroville in 2009.

The third retreat of the Conservation Network is held in Keystone Foundation form October 20-22, 2010. Introduction to Keystone Foundation & Overview of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) was given by Pratim Roy, Director Keystone Foundation. Bee Buzz – Life and Times of the Honey Bee a power point presentation by Robert Leo(Programme Coordinator, Keystone Foundation) was a new experience to all the participants of the retreat. Meeting with the Barefoot Communicators (indigenous elders taking children to forest and share their learning) from various parts of NBR was something new to the group members and gave new strategies of communicating ecological importance. Nimesh from Samrakshan Mizoram led a discussion on Communication Strategies for various target groups and situations. Visit to the Bee Museum, Ooty opened new windows of conveying relationships in environment and intensified importance of a small insect like honey bee in human existence.
Elements towards Ecologies of Knowledges – talk and interaction with Dr. A.R. Vasavi,
National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore was focused on the key interlinks between conservation, education and the rural context. Ajilebottu painting on bags and arakol dance were the finale to the third retreat.