Thursday, 22 April 2010

Naturalist Training Program by Jungle Lodges and Resorts

Recently based on recommendation from my friends I decided to register for the Naturalist Training Program conducted by the Jungle Lodges and Resort. Since the course was popular I was advised to call them immediately and confirm my participation.

Until I went for the session I would always wonder why my friends during all our treks would keep running behind birds, after all what can you see that you didn’t see the first time or at a distance. It wasn’t that I didn’t look at birds or notice them, but why would I keep looking at them for? I was hoping for NTP would help me understand that better.

The session was for 3 days and hence had to take off from work on a Friday and I was looking forward to a good break from work.

Having reached a little earlier had enough time to relax and talk to the other early birds (Sandip, Ganesh and Shafi). Karthik our trainer and the Chief Naturalist for JLR was already there and spent time with us while we waited for the others. Soon the rest of them arrived and it was time to start.

The ice breaker session was very different; we had to give our selves names of animals starting with the same alphabet as our names. It was fun and tied in beautifully to the remaining session.

The course was designed to have some sessions indoor and some outdoor ones. Though the indoor sessions were informative and interactive I preferred the outdoor ones more. Not that the indoor session was bad, it was interesting with anecdotes and beautiful photographs by Karthik but the outdoor sessions were more practical.

Though the session touched upon various aspects of Nature and what it meant to be a Naturalist, the focus was on birds. During 8 hours of outdoor session (nature walks) collectively we identified about 80 species of birds.
It started off by us making notes of the features we noticed (beak, chest color, rump color, tail shape). Until we had the details on our notebooks we were not allowed to mention names of the bird. While I could easily spot birds, had a tough time recognizing them, I always missed the most critical features. Guys with Bazooka would capture the birds beautifully in their cameras and this was used as reference points when in doubt about a bird.

Karthik is a walking encyclopedia on any topic related to nature. He could look at a silhouette or listen to a call and tell which bird it was. Listening to his encounters with wildlife it seemed like the sanctuary was in the site next to his house. Most of the pictures were of animals, reptiles, insects and birds around his house.

When not in class we would be sitting around talking, considering we had a mix of people like a doctor, lawyer, Techies, Chef, Entrepreneurs and Coffee Planter the conversations were always interesting. I was always found around the group that was discussing food. Along with birds I discovered new places to eat biryani.

I didn’t realize how the 3 days went by. Getting back to civilization and work didn’t seem appealing but that’s the life I lead and had to return.
Now that I am back from the session there some changes in the way I do things. Earlier when I spoke to someone I would look at the person’s face, now if I am outdoor I tend to look out for birds, some movement somewhere and not at the person.
Instead of looking out for autos and bikes I look for feathered bi-pied. While walking I will stop suddenly in the middle of the road and look at the tree (a bird) and the people around wonder what I am upto. But I have no complaints, for I have realized that I don’t need to go to the jungle to look for wildlife, I am surrounded by it.

PS: Names as I recall them – Antelope Aishwarya, Ant Ashwini, Vulture Vikram, Kingfisher Kanchuki, Rabbit Rohit, Civet Chandramouli, Seal Serisha, Snake Sameer, Robin Rajlakshmi, Viper Vinay, Vampir (Bat) Vivek, Gaur Ganesh, Sambar Shaif, Nilgai Naveen, Shikra Saandip


  1. Nice post Aishwarya.. BTW my name is Shikra Saandip..u forgot :(

  2. Aiswarya..nice article..can you give the details of the whom should we contact, dates etc

  3. That was really good. Could you pls gve more details on 'how to register for the NTP?