The World Wide Fund for Nature, India (WWF India) is working on making people aware about the conservation of environment and motivating them to take actions to preserve it. In the due course of their programmes, it is also creating a bank of memories for its volunteers.
“Being a volunteer with WWF India is rewarding in its own way. During one of the volunteer programmes, when we were involved in Aravali Utsav, spreading the message of conserving the Aravali mountain range, I would be surrounded by more than 100 school children from standards six-ten. It is a nice memory to recount-that I had the attention of these otherwise relentless students, who were eager to listen to me. It was also rewarding to be able to make them understand the serious issues of urbanisation and tone it down to their level, disseminating credible information, while building upon their interest in wildlife and nature,” fondly shares Nishant Andrews, an active volunteer with World Wildlife Fund for Nature, India (WWF India).
Andrews is part of WWF Volunteers, a programme run by WWF India, perhaps India’s largest voluntary body in the field of conservation, which has been working towards preservation of the country’s wildlife and natural habitats for about half a century now.
Conserving biological diversity, pushing use of renewable sources, and promoting reduction of pollution, WWF’s agenda has been to aid protection of environment and landscapes. In order to expand its reach and get the community involved, the WWF has been conducting volunteer programmes across the country, inviting student groups to their office and at other locations, educating them to take conservative actions.
“Lately I have been working with various schools across the Indian capital New Delhi and taking children out for tree walks, spearheading them in recycling workshops, etc. These programmes have been garnering a good response, with kids showing a nice spirit towards learning,” says Andrews.
“Students are really keen to know about their environment. During Frog Fest, one of our programmes on the conservation of the amphibian, it was interesting to note that many kids were seeing a frog for the first time, as they are not seen commonly in urban spaces now,” shares Ria Narayanan, programme officer, WWF India Volunteers at WWF India.
“However at times it is also challenging to grab their attention. We have had to spike their interest by making them see unique species of frogs or by organising dancing activities,” recollects Narayanan.
Spanning 195 projects across 10 states
A programme that started in 2016, WWF Volunteers has been garnering a positive response, with various volunteers part of the bandwagon now.
“WWF Volunteers has carried out about 195 projects across 10 states in India, with more than 14,000 registered and more than 6000 active volunteers,” shares Narayanan. “The aim is to involve citizens in conservation processes, making them sensitised stakeholders of the planet,” she adds.
The most recent of WWF Volunteers’ projects in India include Earth Hour 2018, which brings millions of people, businesses, and landmarks to switch off their lights for an hour; Common Bird Monitoring Programme, which lets participants document the common birds seen around; Bird Day 2018, a bird watching escapade and many more.
WWF Volunteers is leaving its footprints across the country, gradually reaching to even more states. While earlier they would be working mostly with youth- from schools and colleges- their expanded goals include reaching out to people from all age groups and occupations, making one and all aware and active towards the environment.
However, “a challenge we are facing in this programme is that of impact measurement. Since the projects are independent and varied, their cumulative impact is hard to be measured as of now,” says Narayanan, hoping to spread the word of conservation and getting on with activities nevertheless.