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My Decades' Old Journey in Nature Conservation, Travel & Writing

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Earlier this week I got a set of questions from Vyas Sivanand, a Bangalore based senior journo of The New Indian Express , a leading national daily. This was for a feature story on my journey in the field of conservation and travel. It made me walk down my thought lane and pen down the beautiful memories I have lived over the decades with family, friends and fellow conservationists from our Tumkur-based nature club, Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC) as well as other NGOs. I’m sharing the unedited answers with you. For the published feature story, please see the link towards the end of this post. 1) How and when did your passion towards nature begin? I grew up in Tumkur in late 70s and early 80s, when it was a very small town with the expansive Tumkur Amanikere lying in its heart. Our ancestral home is located a couple of minutes from this lake. After-school hours and weekends, particularly in monsoons, meant sprinting to this wetland and its surroundings. This beautiful lake

Free E-book on How To Write Stories (for Non-Profits/ NGOs, CSR & Government Agencies)

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How to say your story - Story writing for South Asia's NGOs, CSR teams and Government agencies Friends, I am fortunate to have over two decades’ experience working with NGOs and Government agencies to communicate the various challenges staring at India today, ranging from environmental degradation to women’s rights. Among the organisations where I have worked paid, full time are WWF and Greenpeace. Over the years I have interacted with many professionals,  particularly from international agencies,  working in the non-profit sector in south Asia. This has helped me take a close look at the region’s problems and proposed solutions. Using my experience, I have authored an e-book ‘ How to Say Your Story - A manual for South Asia’s NGOs, CSR teams & Government agencies on communicating through written stories ’. This book, probably the first of its kind in South Asia, aims to help the region’s development sector create and use stories. Anyone interested in educa

Devarayanadurga State Forest and surroundings - As seen on new google maps, May 2013

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Among the oldest reserve forests of India, Devarayanadurga State Forest is a pocket of isolated wilderness amidst growing urban areas and upcoming highways. Here is how it looks on google maps. Devarayanadurga State Forest and surroundings - As seen on new google maps, May 2013 With labels - Devarayanadurga State Forest and surroundings - As seen on new google maps, May 2013 For more on Devarayanadurga state forest, please see the below post on this blog: 150 years later, Devarayanadurga Forest chugs along... --- For more information about a destination, have a tourist destination or your property listed on this page or to buy an image please email the author at tumkurameen@gmail.com 

Presqu'ile Provincial Park - Home to Ontario's winged wonders

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The region to the east of Toronto along Lake Ontario is less densely populated than to the west which leads to the cities of Burlington, Hamilton, Niagara falls and beyond to Rochester in the United States. Out on the east, one can have the pleasure of driving leisurely on the roads that have a comparatively lesser vehicle population as well. Also to the east along Lake Ontario are a string of provincial parks that protect rare vegetation and wildlife, particularly migratory birds. These parks are the equivalent of India's conservation reserve and community conserved areas being too small in most cases to be given the status of a wildlife sanctuary or a national park. Google map screenshot showing the parks to the east of Toronto. In the south is New York state of USA. Among such parks are the twin wilderness of McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve and Second Marsh wildlife area along with the neighbouring Darlington Provincial Park ( read more ), Presqu'ile Provincial Par

Watching Winter Waterfowl in Karnataka: 'Welcoming winged wonders'

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The annual mid-winter Asian Waterfowl Census has groomed hundreds of nature lovers into serious bird watchers and has helped wetland conservation in Karnataka. Ameen Ahmed reports.  (This story was published in the Science and Technology section of the Deccan Herald on 22 Jan 2008 http://archive.deccanherald.com/Content/Jan222008/snt2008012147835.asp) It was early January in mid-1990s and the road overlooking Kunigal chikka kere marshland, 75 km west of Bangalore city, was desolate, except for a few bird watchers. With the monsoons gone and the dust settled down, we were taking part in the annual mid-winter Asian Waterfowl Census. Our eyes caught a greyheaded fishing eagle that had perched itself on one of the trees lining the lake. The eagle looked ahead, as the orange sun ball rose up the horizon. The mist veil steadily disappeared, offering beautiful vista of the granite hills of Konkekallu that continue to the magnificent Savanadurga. Underneath the eagle's watchful e

Himalayan delicacies in nature's lap

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There are many reasons for one to visit Sikkim. And if you are foodie like me, I am pretty sure it will be 'love at first visit' as well. Having chosen to visit Club Mahindra's resort at Baiguney, as some one on the look out for exotic food, the wide array of authentic Sikkim and Nepalese menu on the table floored me. For starters, you can try 'Sekhua' a traditional Nepalese smoke cooked chicken. To me this chicken was the Nepali equivalent of north India's tandoor chicken. This chicken is marinated with ginger garlic paste with curd added as a binder. Traditionally it is smoke cooked using wood unlike charcoal grill. At Baiguney, for reasons of convenience the chicken was cooked using gas and not charcoal.  Chicken 'Sekhua' with authentic Darjeeling momos I also had a taste of authentic Darjeeling momos, a dish that is now available at many fast food restaurants across India, particularly Delhi. I was informed by Chef Gagan that momos mass

Club Mahindra Baiguney - Sikkim's hidden treasure trove of serenity

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Think of Sikkim and one conjures images of snow-clad peaks and India's cold frontiers. But a recent visit to Club Mahindra's Resort at Baiguney let me discover a less explored world, one of serenity and peace. It’s true that Sikkim has many snow capped peaks, particularly along the border with China and Nepal. But away from the maddening crowds whose only aim is to catch a solitary glimpse of obscure, far away snowy mountains, lies Club Mahindra Baiguney, a treasure trove of lush greenery and blissful serenity. View Club Mahindra, Baiguney, Sikkim in a larger map A view of Club Mahindra's resort at Baiguney, west Sikkim The resort is located about 3 km north of the twin towns of Naya Bazaar & Jorethang not far from the famed hill station of Darjeeling. But the weather here is like much of south Sikkim, pleasant in Winter and Monsoons but humid in the Summers. During my brief stay last week, my body was pampered and the nerves soothed at the trad