We started our first batch of Butterflies for Beginners on 1 May 2020 with 10 participants from all over India. The course started with a video conference session with the Butterfly Man of India Mr Isaac Kehimkar and Dr V Shubhalaxmi, Course Coordinator.
We conducted our first virtual workshop for corporate volunteers, employees of DCB Bank on Kitchen Gardening. The session was attended by 15 participants from different parts of the country. It was an hour and half session which was conducted by Dr. Shubhalaxmi and Wilma D’Cunha. During the session, the participants learnt to set up their compost pits and developed planters to grown micro greens. It was good to see some participants doing live sessions with us.
To keep our audience engaged during the boring lock-down period we conducted three free webinars on 14 May 2020 wherein the participants learned about kitchen gardening in the Learn to grow your veggies webinar conducted by Ms. Wilma D'Chuna
The butterfly lovers learned about these fascinating flying jewels during the webinar on Butterflying with Butterfly Man Mr Isaac Kehimkar. And the bug lovers learned about the secret world of bugs from the Bug Lady Dr V Shubhalaxmi.
We launched our new batches for the online courses on wildlife on 15 May 2020. We started the Birds, Bugs, Butterflies, Trees, Kitchen Gardening and Gardening for Wildlife batches with 18 students from around the world and India. The courses kick-started with a video conference session on course orientation with Dr. V Shubhalaxmi wherein the participants were orientated on the course structure and the different course assignments.
We concluded our first batch of Young Naturalists online course for children on 15 May 2020. Our young naturalists did a presentation on their data collected during the past month and their learning. They were all excited to do the presentation and the one hour session went on till 2.5 hrs. Children were happy that they learnt good amount of natural history about their surrounding and various ICT skills. Parents too shared their feedback during the session. They said it was a good way to engage their kids in a self-learning mode and it opened their eyes on how everything is connected in nature and learning doesn't stop and goes on in the lock-down. Kids learned new skills and it gave them an opportunity to explore the local wildlife which they were not aware of. We were happy too as the children’s assignment turn rate was 100%. Overall our first online course for children proved successful.
A free webinar on Birding during Pandemic was conducted on 16 may 2020 to engage the bird lovers during the lock down period and to spread awareness about feathered bipeds.
We concluded our April 2020 batches for the online courses on Birds, Bugs and gardening for Wildlife on 17 May 2020. During the sessions participants presented their project work, experience and learning from the course. We were amazed to see the kind of data gathered by them in a short period of 6 weeks and their learning. Our Bird course participant Ms. Sunit a teacher from Bangalore said that I was really a beginner and it was a good start for me. Today she can identify birds in her locality. The Gardening for Wildlife course participants did a fantastic work on their garden layout and and now waiting for the lock-down to get over so that they can begin the plantation.
We conducted our second session of the series on Grow your Greens on 17 May 2020. The employees of Pidilite enjoyed the online session where they learnt about the kitchen gardening and the basic techniques to plant a sapling and being creative by using the pet bottles or any other materials available at home not only to grow some Microgreens but also different types of vegetable and flowering plants.
The second webinar was conducted by Isaac Kehimkar. As usual there was overwhelming response, we had to say no to many and increased our groupsize to 20. The participants logged in from various cities. Participants appreciated interacting with Butterfly Man.
Our second batch for online courses on Bugs For Beginners, Birds for Beginners and Gardening for Wildlife started on 6 April 2020 with a face to face interaction with the course participants via google hangout. Dr. V Shubhalaxmi interacted with the participants and conducted a course orientation session for them. Nine participants from across India from Kashmir to Bangalore and Mumbai to Orissa have enrolled for the course. The course participants will interact with different subject experts on a weekly basis to gain in-depth knowledge on the subject. And will also document the wildlife in their area as per the course topics.
The Wednesday Webinar on Birds & Bird Calls by Dr. Ketki Marthak conducted on 8 April 2020 on hangout at 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM.
The Wednesday Webinar on Gardening for Birds by Madhusudhan Shukla Conducted on 15 April 2020 on hangout at 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM.
Our first online course for Children on Young Naturalists started on 15 April 2020 with a video conference session on course orientation. Eight young budding naturalists from Mumbai and Bangalore have enrolled for the course. During the one month course, these young nature enthusiasts will be exposed to different natural ecosystems and will be reconnected with woods within their own home city. They will be interacting with subject experts on a weekly basis through the video conference sessions. And will be documenting the wildlife in their area through the project work.
Corporate Volunteering during Lockdown: We are happy employees of Standard Chartered Bank agreed to develop content for our upcoming online course- Young Naturalist
The Gardening for Wildlife course started on 1 March 2020 with seven wildlife lovers who wanted to invite wildlife in their backyard. The participants belong to different professional backgrounds right from doctors, IT Sector, Architect, and housewife too. We have one participant from Dubai too. The course kick-started with a hangout session on the course overview by Dr. V Shubhalaxmi and Mr. Isaac Kehimkar. The participants are involved in online assignments, fieldwork, and DIY throughout the week with the hangout sessions with experts on Sundays. The participants are loving it and have started takings steps towards developing their own wildlife garden.
Inspite of Covid-19 scare, 20 people ventured out with us inside Green Valley Park to learn all about trees. The students from SIES college dominated the group. The walk was conducted by Isaac Kehimkar & Dr. Shubhalaxmi. The participants were introduced to different aspects of tree ecology and later on they carried out the exercise of calculating carbon sequestration by trees. They worked in 7 groups and each group measured 5 trees. Altogether 40 trees were measured. The highest carbon content was found in Tennis Ball tree. It’s 168 cm girth trunk stores 780 kg carbon which it created after absorbing 2850 kg carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Such facts about the trees were new to the participants.
This was our first webinar in the series. it was based on Insect Architecture which was conducted by Dr.Shubhalaxmi. We had high number of registrations which we had to turn down. A batch of 15 participants attended the webinar.
A marine walk was conducted for 57 enthusiastic students of Rose Manor International School from 8.30 am to 10.30 am. Students explored the rocky beach of Chimbai and learn about the different marine organisms dwelling the rocky beach. They were amazed to see the sea anemone in the small rock pools. Hermit crabs, bivalves, barnacles, gastropods, and crabs were the other highlights of the walk.
A two-hour free Marine walk at Chimbai beach was conducted by Mr Sudan. Around 10 participants attended the walk and explored the neglected hidden marine life of the rocky shore of Chimbai beach. They observed pistol shrimp, rock crabs, mollusc shells, hermit crab, sponges, sea anemone and decorator worm, etc.
We organized a migratory bird and surrounding mangroves watch at Talawe by Dr Ketki Marthak. We observed different type of birds like Black wing stilt, Common coot, Rosy starling, Green bee-eater. These walks help in better understanding of wetlands and their importance.
On 22nd Feb, 25 Volunteers From Piramal Foundation participated in the restoration works of Kharghar hills. The programme started with the nature trail conducted by Issac Kehimker and Nishtha Raut. participants learnt about flora and also learnt about the birds and the insects. Post trail the participants were divided into two groups where they worked on the nature trail development by digging and lining of the stones and the other team worked on making the pond barrier.
This was our first event on Central Park. Though we 25 sign ups but only small group actually dared to join us on a chilly Sunday morning. The place surprised us with myriad native and exotic trees that were planted along the pathway. Based on plantation we could assign a particular pathway to a tree e.g. Sita Ashok Lane, Peepal Lane, Tabebua Lane, Copperpod Lane, Laburnum Lane and Wild Almond Lane. The other trees who were the remanent of original forests included; Red Silk Cotton, Mahuva, Soccer Ball, Asan, Palymra, Charcoal tree, Banyan, iron tree and so on. The other highlights included hibernating stink bugs, harvester ants busy dehusking. Caterpillar of plain tiger and humming bird hawkmoth and green lacewing. There were good number of birds too such a Yellow wagtails, Black Drongo, Red Wattled lapwing, Shikha, Cattle Egret. Pond Heron and large congregation of cormorants near the water body. Overall it was well spent Sunday in nature’s lap.
iNaturewatch conducted a free marine walk for 31 students of Xaviers college on 14 Jan 2020 from 7 am to 9 am. The group sighted species of crab - Metopograpsus sp, Portunus sp, Egg mass of Nerita sp., Ceratium sp., Amphipods, Sponges and sea anemone. Ghost fishing was found and live berried crabs found in the netting. There was an unplanned mangrove cleanup taken up by the students which indicated awareness in the current generation.
On 15th Jan 2020 Marine walk was conducted by Sathish Chennuri and Chanakya at Chimbai beach(Bandra). Somaiya college students accompanied by their professors attended the marine walk, we could observe lot of rocky shore inhabitant flora and fauna i.e pistol shrimp, rock crabs, mollusc shells, hermit crab, sponges, sea anemone and decorator worm etc. Today we also have observed lot of abandoned fishing net (ghost net) in the intertidal region which may trap lot of organisms unnecessarily. The students also spotted the gutters releasing into the ocean and marine debris.
iNaturewatch in collaboration with United Way Mumbai conducted a Marine shore walk from 7:30 to 9: 30, for Rizvi college students and professors at Chimbai Beach, Bandra, The walk was conducted by our marine biologist Mr. Satish. We came across different varieties of marine organisms like a dead sea snake, different gastropods, bivalves, crab species, sea anemone, Gobi fish, amphipods, barnacles, decorator worms, sponges and mangroves. The walk aimed at creating awareness about the huge marine biodiversity that the rocky beach is a home to.