In coastal villages the fisherman and their children have lived for generations and are dependent on the lake for their livelihood i.e. the fish catches. But what they are not aware is that sustainable fishery depends on many other microscopic lives that are not visible to them. Educating fisherman and their next-generation about Chilika and how its biodiversity can be conserved is the first step in ensuring that their livelihoods and lake biodiversity is secured for many more years.
The Foldscope team of Wetland Research and Training Centre, Chilika Development Authority, Balugaon in their pursuit for raising awareness about the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources of Chilika Lagoon visited Sarkari Prathmik Vidalaya, Barkul, on 1st February 2019. This primary school was located right on Chilika shoreline within the walking distance of 300 m and has strength of 40 students in standard 5th. The primary school represents a true resource constrained organization where neither the teacher now the students has ever used a hand magnifying lens. It is somewhat unfortunate that being so close to a wetland of international importance i.e. Chilika, they never had an opportunity to explore the microscopic world that is hidden in the lake. In such circumstances, Foldscope has plenty of opportunity to offer as a first portable microscope for the school children where costly microscope cannot be provided. These students can utilise the foldscope to understand the microscopic biodiversity of apart from fishes, birds, and doplphins of Chilika
During the Foldscope outreach program, students and teachers of the school took an active participation in the interactive programme to know about the Foldscope and its application as a portable microscope. The concept of foldscope was was well received by students and teachers. Live demonstration of foldscope assembly, algae sample preparation and visualization through foldscope was taken as an activity. Foldscope videos of live rotifer engulfing feed, oligochaete and its internal structure, spirogyra were demonstrated. Foldscope was appreciated as an efficient tool to study about the seagrasses, microorganisms, food web and how to take steps in conserving them for their betterment.