Around 70% of children in India study in Government and Government aided schools. They have very little opportunities to know about India’s natural heritage and complex environmental issues. Students in towns and villages not only have less access to quality educational materials, but also, they don’t have passionate environmental educators who can facilitate empathy and understanding in children towards nature and conservation. This gap has to be bridged because majority of young people after graduation join the forestry services, administrative services and many other Government positions. In the end, they determine the fate of forests and wildlife in India.
From my experience of working with children and teachers across Tamil Nadu, I strongly believe that the gap between students and nature can be bridged in a stronger manner by transforming environmental education. This can be done in two different ways; by creating engaging educational materials and by training young people to become passionate communicators for the environment. This is my mission. Following are the programs I conducted through Youth For Conservation (YFC), a non-profit initiative started by acclaimed wildlife and conservation filmmaker Shekar Dattatri, HLC International, an Ashoka Changemaker School, and East-West Center, an educational institution in Hawaii established by the U.S. Congress in 1960.