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Head Up in the Sky

The World Above Us – A weekend about birds.

Week two of the Wild Malhar month started off with a birdwatching walk. Twenty of our residents gathered at Tarana at 7 AM. The walk was conducted by Sangeetha Kadur, Chayant Gonsalves and Sandeep Nanu. From ‘Bulbuls’ to ‘Rollers’, every bird spotted was given its due time, so much so that it took us around 45 mins to cover the distance between the two Footprints gates! The current number of birds spotted in Good Earth is 130, so for anyone interested in birdwatching, it’s a great place to start. The group spotted around 35 different species today. Like Chayant said, “A good book on birds and a solid binocular is all you need to begin.”


Puppetry for Children with Nandini Rammohan

“What does a crocodile eat?” A multilingual puppet show wholly based on a curious elephant named Muthuraj who lived in a time where elephants had no trunks. He sets out on a journey to find what a crocodile eats but to his disappointment he came back with a trunk! He then comes across a magical bird who helps him realise the benefits of having a trunk and soon all the elephants wanted one too! This show then morphs into a workshop where all the 30 children from Malhar and Anchepalya pick their favorite characters from the show to make. There were 4 groups who made puppets from the elephant with a springy trunk to the crocodile who pulled that nose. The workshop ended with a lively photo session with all the kids and their animals.

Wild Malhar Diaries

Rang Malhar with Sindhu

‘Rang Malhar’, a talk by Ms. Sindhu, a resident of Footprints, was the opening act for the evening on the 23rd of January. The talk brought forth her interest in trees and how this interest has translated into her life. She spoke of the Muttuga tree, Lipstick Tree and the Beach Hibiscus and shared the knowledge she’s garnered on them. Everyone’s attention was immediately drawn to the beautiful dyes she’s created using flowers and seeds – a vibrant start to the evening revelries!

Taking to the Skies by Chayant Gonsalves

The evening ended on a contemplative note as the talk ‘Taking to the Skies’ by Chayant Gonsalves took us through a wide range of themes. From the history and evolution of birds, to their morphological significances, to migratory patterns and reasons for bird watching beyond it’s recreational value-add to our lives – a lot was said, questioned and discussed. Everyone left the talk a lot better informed and significantly more curious. Chayant claims that it was his Biology teacher in school that noticed his spark towards wildlife and nature and that’s where his journey with wildlife really began.

Wildlife Photography, what it takes by Naresh & Vinay

Sunday morning was made interesting by Naresh and Vinay who explored the ‘Basics of Wildlife Photography’ through their talk. Vinay, who has been pursuing this passion of his for the past twelve years, shared the tips and tricks that he picked along the way. Following this, Naresh imparted all the technical knowledge he’s gathered through his years as a wildlife photographer. There were plenty of questions asked by our keen audience, which resulted in a great discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography, differences between different formats of pictures and a lot more. Everyone went home with a smile after seeing the beautiful pictures the two had captured in their years as wildlife photographers.

Wild Tech workshop with Chayant Gonsalves & Sandeep Nanu

The ‘Wild Tech’ workshop was conducted to teach the residents of malhar about apps that they can use to enhance their experience as a wildlife enthusiast. Chayant Gonsalves and Sandeep Nanu together covered the three apps – Merlin, eBird and iNaturalist. They spoke about the basics of how to use the app and what the app contains. Sandeep Nanu started the session with Merlin, which is solely used to identify a bird you saw with inputs either provided by the description of what you saw or by uploading a picture that you have taken. Think of it as Shazam for birds. Next was eBird by Chayant where the app has a lot to give: from keeping checklists to contributing to science, discovering new birds and even exciting quizzes. This was when we found out that Malhar was a hotspot for birds. The last app was iNaturalist which was for all things living from birds to animals and even viruses!! The session concluded with a walk around by putting their newfound knowledge into action!

Antarctica Expedition for Climate Change by Aanya Soni

“A survivor deals with a problem with small solutions before it becomes a threat”.

Aanya, a 16 year old and a resident of GoodEarth Orchard, was the youngest Indian to ever be selected for the Antarctic Climate Change Expedition. She went on this expedition through the Antarctic climate force 2018 and became a climate change ambassador. She spoke about the three main animals found there; Penguins, Seals and Whales. She explained about how everyone from the expedition sat down everyday to discuss simple solutions one can do to contribute to making the world a better place. The talk concluded with a note on how we can take a step forward in helping this cause right from our doorstep.

A lot can happen in 9 months by Sandeep Nanu

10,000 shutter clicks, 152 birds, 3 locations and over 300 hours on the field led Sandeep Nanu into becoming a budding wildlife photographer and enthusiast. In this engaging talk he spoke about how he went from an Instagram post (saying he didn’t identify a Sunbird), shaky photographs and not knowing anything about birds to investing in his own camera gear and creating a brand called Shifting Radius. He says it all started with a couple of walks around Malhar and observing the few nests around the Footprints vegetable garden. At first it was only bird photography but it soon turned into capturing stories. He spoke about the various birds he observed and captured from Prinias and Sunbirds to Egrets, Kingfishers and even the beautiful Red Avadavats! In terms of photography he spoke about how to compose the subject, how to give your subject some space and how even lying on the floor can make your picture look different. He ends by saying there is so much to observe around us and to “Stay hungry, Stay curious”. This talk by one of our own was a perfect way to end the weekend about the world above us.


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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • AMIT RAY says:

    Super stuff curated…and a great read !!!

  • Shataparna Banerjee says:

    Nice read! Enough to make one regret having missed the sessions, while at the same time sparking the readers curiosity about the ‘world above us’ (loves that phrase) 🙂

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