Mangalore: St. Aloysius College hosts National Seminar on Biodiversity

By Roydon D’Souza, Team Mangalorean, Mangalore

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Mangalore, 22 February, 2010: St. Aloysius College (Autonomous) in association with Pilikula Nisarga Dhama (R) conducted a One day National Level Seminar on “Biodiversity: An Endless Exploration” here today at 9:30 A.M.in the Eric Mathias/ IT Auditorium in the College Premises.

The program began by invoking God’s blessing by the way of a prayer song led by the college students. Later, Prof. M. L. Sureshnath, HOD – Dept. of Botany welcomed the gathering and introduced the guests to the audience.

Prof. Dr. N. A. Madhyastha, Former Principal of Poorna Prajna College, Udupi was the Chief Guest and Fr. Swebert D’Silva S.J, Principal – St. Aloysius College (Autonomous) presided over the inaugural ceremony. Fr. Leo D’Souza S.J -Former Rector and Director of Laboratory for Applied Biology, SAC; Ms. Serena D’Souza -Dept. of Biotechnology; Prof. Nagalakshmi -HOD, Dept. of Botany and Mr. Mukesh were also present on the dais. A floral welcome was given to all the dignitaries. Later, Prof. Dr. N. A. Madhyastha along with the guests inaugurated the National Seminar “Biodiversity: An Endless Exploration” by lighting the traditional lamp.

As a tribute to our nation’s biodiversity and to conserve the endangered plant species of the western ghats the guests planted the ecologically important plants of the western ghats by the way of watering them. These plants will be nurtured in the Arboretum of the college with the help of Pilikula Nisarga Dhama.

Addressing the gathering Fr. Leo D’Souza S.J., Former Rector and Director of Laboratory for Applied Biology quoting the bible verses from Genesis said that “God created the Universe and he said he liked everything that he created”. He said it is ‘we’ who have classified everything into ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

“A rose plant growing in a rice field is a weed; similarly paddy growing in a rose field is a weed; but the responsibility or the reason for the plant being in the wrong place is ‘us’. But now the scientific community has realized that the so called ‘weeds’ which we do not hesitate to remove have been found to be of medicinal importance” Fr. Leo added.

Fr. Leo concluded by saying that we have to be happy for the rich diversity- it has to be celebrated; we have to go back to the Creator and thank him for this ‘Rich Diversity’.

In the presidential address, Fr. Swebert D’Silva, Principal – St. Aloysius College (Autonomous) quoted Kabirdas in one of his poems “I laughed when the fish said, ‘I am thirsty’ because it is surrounded by water”. He added by saying “Our surrounding is filled with Gods’ presence; God is present in nature around us, but we fail to see him”.

Fr. D’Silva said that the moment we feel connected, the world changes; we are connected with our friends and relatives, so we are able to forgive them easily and we do not get angry with them. We have to build up a similar relationship with Mother Nature. We shouldn’t interfere with nature for our greedy needs, because the entire system will develop into a mess/ disorder, because it is not following a rhythm that is planned by the Nature.

Later, Fr. Swebert congratulated the organizers and the faculty for organizing this seminar and concluded by saying “When we nurture this world, this world becomes a better place to live- Try to find a connectivity with the Nature”.

Mr. Mukesh delivered the Vote of Thanks. As a token of gratitude the guests were presented with the mementos. It was Ms. Petula Dias who in her own inimitable way compeered the inauguration ceremony.

Later Prof. Dr. N.A. Madhyastha, Former Principal of Poorna Prajna College delivered the keynote address on the topic “Animal Biodiversity with reference to Western Ghats Karnataka”.

Prof. Madhyastha said “Biodiversity cannot be transformed or changed by the way of giving lectures or by organizing seminars; but in turn biodiversity has to be nurtured by ‘nature’. “It is when the last drop of water is poisoned; when the last tree is cut; when the last fish is caught and the last animal is killed we will realize that we can’t eat money and live, so there is a need of biodiversity”.

Prof. Dr. K.R. Sridhar, Dept. of Biosciences- Mangalore University spoke on the topic ‘Micro Biodiversity’. Later, a paper presentation by the students was held. Dr. Jagdish, Retired Zoology Prof. Vijaya College, Mulki was the moderator of the paper presentation. Dr. Jayakar Bhandary, Govt. Arts and Science College, Karwar spoke on the topic “Plant Diversity: Exploration, Utilization & Conservation” and “Sustainable Development”. The delegates actively participated in the interactive session held.

Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Fr. Melwyn D’Cunha SJ, HOD- Dept. of Biochemistry said that the main objective of this seminar was to create an awareness among the students and the common public about the rich biodiversity of our Nation and to conserve it, without it being endangered or extinct”.

The National Level Seminar witnessed more than 300 delegates and participants from various Colleges from the city and different parts of India. Many Eminent Personalities, Environmentalists and Nature Lovers attended the seminar.

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