Its a little more than 10 years that we have been hosting a Barefoot Ecology program – which trains community members to observe and record habitat quality and changes .
Over 50 + community members have been part of the program and they have taken up ecological monitoring, raising nurseries, conducting nature education programs and village elder programs in their villages.
Field research in ecology and wildlife biology has always taken the help of local guides and trackers. The Barefoot ecology program takes this further – value adding traditional ecological knowledge for conservation.
This year is a breakthrough year for us – since one of our deepest wishes came true – to have women barefoot ecologists. It took more than three months to find them but today we have close to 16 women who have started training with the Field courses and research team at Keystone’s Sathyamangalam Field Ecology Center at Arepalayam, Hasanur. The all woman team comes from villages in Sigur and Hasanur which fall inside Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam tiger reserves respectively.
Will this next decade of barefoot ecology be the decade of the women barefoot ecologist? Only time will tell and in the mean time we look forward to it!