The Malabar Botanical Garden, an autonomous body under the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, has been chosen for the maiden award instituted by the environmental agency, Green World, in memory of environmental activist John C. Jacob.
The John C. Jacob Award is given to institutions making outstanding contribution to create public awareness on environment-related matters and carries a cash prize of Rs.10,000 and a citation.
This year's winner was chosen by a committee comprising environmental activist Shobheendran, poet P.K. Gopi and Gandhian Thayattu Balan.
The Malabar Botanical Garden here has a rich collection of plants endemic to the Western Ghats and has been organising biodiversity conservation programmes. It has also conducted a series of programmes to train women and farmers in commercial cultivation of medicinal plants.
John C. Jacob, a native of Kottayam who taught zoology at St. Joseph's College , Devagiri, and later at a college in Payyannur, was the founder of Zoological Club, believed to be the first environmental agency in the State, and the Society for Environmental Education in Kerala (SEEK) and was in the frontline of environmental activities in the State until his demise on October 11 in 2008. He also had the distinction of being the Editor of ‘Mainah', the first environmental magazine in Malayalam, and ‘Soochimukhi' magazine. John C. Jacob was also instrumental in instilling in children interest in nature conservation activities and setting up Nature Clubs and organising nature study camps. He was also a recipient of State government's Vanamitra Award, and the Green Award of the Kerala Biodiversity Board.