The green cause will soon get new warriors. From being aware of the difference between a parrot and a parakeet to knowing whether a neem tree is indigenous or not -- and even knowing Mumbai's secret biodiversity hotspots -- these guys are familiar with it all. EcoFolks, a group into nature conservation, is offering a certificate course in nature interpretation. Commencing this Sunday, the 12 to 15-week course will focus on the environmental diversity in Mumbai and what can be done to preserve what's left of it here.
"People do not realise that everything in nature is interconnected. If one goes out of gear, everything left is in chaos. Through this course, we give a general overview of all nature-related aspects of a place," says Paresh Pimpale, founder of EcoFolks. Also at hand are the best from each field. "We have bird experts, those into botany as well as insect lovers coming to share their knowledge with the students.
The on-the-field lectures and training sessions are conducted at some of the best biodiversity hotspots in and around Mumbai including Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Maharashtra Nature Park, Byculla Zoo, Vasai Fort, Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnala Bird Sanctuary and other places. Pimpale says, "Since it is conducted within and around city limits, the knowledge shared is obviously local and pertaining to Mumbai. Not many know that one can easily find 50-60 species of birds during a single visit to Vasai Fort including bulbuls, parakeets and the sunbirds."
And what will you gain at the end? Pimpale says, "We need more people who are interested in nature and have knowledge about biodiversity. Sometimes, in the name of tree plantation, people do more harm than good if they are unaware of what species to plant. Also, deserving candidates can be absorbed into EcoFolks."