A Biodiversity Competition is held in every village during a shodhyatra. The concern for conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable utilization has to be developed among the children at a young age so that their attitudes in this regard can be molded. Children in a village school are informed about the competition a few weeks in advance. Each child is told to bring on the appointed date, a list of as many plants as he/she can, identify their uses after talking to grandparents, neighbors or whoever, and collect samples in the case of plants, which are not endangered. They are given points on the basis of each criterion and are also quizzed to find out whether they remember some of the things that they have written. The top rankers are given prizes and social applause. Such competitions invariably lead to a process of ‘knowledge churning’ in villages.
- In one of the shodhyatras (Rapar taluka, Kutch district) during a biodiversity contest for students, a winning student could recall the names of 728 plants out of which he wrote the names of 572 plants and could remember the use of 156 plants!
- In another biodiversity contest held in the Banaskantha district, a total of 364 students participated from nine schools. The participant who won the competition was able to name 612 plants, out of which, he wrote the names of 265 plants, could remember the use of 258 plants and obtained the samples of 89 plant varieties.
- In the 21st Shodhyatra, during a biodiversity competition all other children brought five to ten mostly common plants. But Jyothi, surprised everybody. She had brought 25 different types of plants and narrated their names and uses. On being asked to call her parents, she just cried for her dead mother and apathetic father. Brought up by her grandparents, her soul mates must have been those plants.
- In the 25th Shodhyatra, Sampath Sahu, a ten-year-old boy, had collected 115 varieties of plants and herbs and had knowledge of almost each variety.
In the 34th Shodhyatra, children had classified the plants in two categories, plants found at low altitudes and plants found at high altitude, also stating their uses.