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Nature Forever Society Sparrow Awards

Media Release
Monitor the Sparrows this March
World Sparrow Day secretariat registers activities from around the world

Word Sparrow Day

Fifth Year of World Sparrow Day

Sparrow populations in many countries around the world are declining. World Sparrow Day on 20th March is everyone’s chance to rise to the challenge of saving them.

The humble house sparrow is one of the world’s most common and widespread species. Apart from the house sparrow, there are other twenty-six distinct species of Sparrow.  World Sparrow Day is an effort to create awareness about all these species which are spread across three continents namely Asia, Africa and Europe.

The theme for this year is “Monitor the Sparrows & other common birds” and the World Sparrow Day secretariat is urging people to monitor Sparrows and other common birds this year using the Common Bird Monitoring of India, a citizen science initiative of Nature Forever Society.

The secretariat urges citizens and organisations to register their events on www.worldsparrowday.org helping citizens at local level to get associated with it. We have received more than 45 events registered from across the globe on World Sparrow Day events map. In addition, the organizers would be sending post-event information to the secretariat which will help in compiling events’ report organised across the globe.

We request citizen to share information on events conducted to be shared via our website www.worldsparrowday.org |www.natureforever.org |www.cbmi.in |

Wipro has been supporting World Sparrow Day for the past four years and is committed towards the conservation of lesser known species and issues related to conservation.

Wipro-Nature Forever Society Sparrow Awards

Nature Forever Society  LogoThe Wipro-NFS Sparrow Awards were instituted in 2011 with an aim to identify citizens who are an inspiration for the Citizens to get involved into conservation. Since last year, a cash prize of Rs.50,000/- are given to each of the three Sparrow Awardees to support them financially in their endeavours.

The funding will help the winners carry out vital conservation and environmental work undertaken by them. It will also help inspire citizens to get involved in conservation movement of India. Nature Forever Society is committed to helping the winners in continuing their positive environmental and conservation efforts.

The Wipro – Nature Forever Society Sparrow Award are not given to professional conservationists, ecologist or environmentalists. It is given to citizens who are doing innovative, inspirational and grassroots’ work towards conservation and environment.

Our sentiments behind the awards

We have often noticed that in the field of conservation while the best known conservationists consistently receive accolades for their work, there is no support offered to the citizens carrying out grassroot conservation work in their local regions.

We believe that such citizens whose job or profession is not conservation, but are making vital and important contributions in a selfless right way to save the environment, deserve accolades. The sentiment behind Nature Forever Society’s Sparrow Awards is to honour such people and applaud their silent efforts.

In the coming years, we aspire to make the Wipro – Nature Forever Society Sparrow Award one of the most prestigious honours one could hold; tough to attain and inspirational to retain.

Objective behind Wipro – Nature Forever Society’s SPARROW AWARDS:

  • To involve the citizens  from diverse sections of the society in the conservation movement
  • To honour the work of individuals and organisations at the grassroots level for strengthening the conservation movement for protection of the environment and biodiversity.

Since its inception in 2011, Awards have recognised inspirational work of citizen non- professional conservationists and researchers.

Wipro – Nature Forever Sparrow Award 2014winners were selected through information collected from different sources throughout the year as well as through nominations received from across the country. The credentials of all candidates were further scrutinised and authenticated.

Nomination process for this year’s awards were closed on  15th February 2014. What followed was a gruelling selection process, creating a shortlist of nominees meeting the key criteria, the work should be innovative, inspirational and that individuals are suitable role models for the citizens to follow.

 Three individuals from different parts of the country were selected as outstanding recipients of the Wipro – Nature Forever Society Sparrow Awards 2014.

Wipro – NFS Sparrow Award Winners for 2014

  1. J M Garg (Passionate Naturalist) Kolkata
  2. Shyam Sundar Paliwal (Social & Environmental activist) Pipalantri (district Rajsamand) Rajasthan
  3. Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud (Bird-of-prey Rescuers & passionate Vets) Old Delhi

Profile of J M Garg:

J M GargMr. Garg, having always been interested in the avifauna of India, first used photography to capture the beauty that lay around him and later decided to use the Internet to connect with people that had similar interests. On exploring, he learnt that there was hardly any e-group devoted to photographing, identification, discussion, learning etc. on Indian Flora. This is how the idea of efloraindia was first conceived. Read Green Clean Guide in conversation with Mr. J.M. Garg- Founder Efloraofindia.

Profile of Shyam Sundar Paliwal

Shyam Sundar PaliwalA village in Rajasthan celebrates by planting 111 trees every time a girl child is born. This was not the case till some years back. The village-in-question, Pipalantri in district Rajsamand in Rajasthan is about 70 km from Udaipur. Following its own brand of eco-feminism, it has successfully planted over a quarter million trees in the last six years.

This started with an idea by Shyam Sundar Paliwal, then sarpanch of the district. His entire family has been involved in social work from women’s rights to environmental conservation. Inspired by his father, Bhanwar Lalji Paliwal, he is particularly drawn to saving the girl child since losing his young 19-year old daughter during his tenure as the sarpanch.

As per the scheme active currently, a sum of Rs. 21,000 is collected from the residents and Rs. 10,000 from a girl’s father. The total amount is put in a fixed deposit account opened in the girl’s name with a maturity period of 20 years. Besides, the girl’s parents are made to sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name.

With his social activist father, wife as a member of Jila Parishad, work-personal life balance has never been a problem for him. He has received much accolades for his initiative and featured in media from across the globe. Raising funds is hardly a problem for him. He says, “I receive funds from organizations like you which help a lot to carry forward activities. Also industrialists and other fund providers help me lot for social activities. As fund providers feels that there fund is getting used for proper activity.”

Mr. Paliwal believes that dedication and will-power is a must for any dream to bear fruits. According to him, when one pursues their passion for work, nothing is difficult. In this respect, he urges all Indian citizens to work in their field of interest and government to support their initiatives.

He personally feels that in India, a lot of water gets wasted and so wants the government to conserve water by water harvesting which can then be utilized by farmers and in turn, increases returns. In addition, he wants the government to initiate some scheme to improve the life of the girl child and wants the government to initiate a similar scheme in all of India. He also urges the government to make environmental science and save girl child awareness education mandatory for all.

The village also plants 11 trees when someone dies. To prevent termite attack, this village of 8000 also plants aloe-vera plants which functions as a biopesticide around the trees. Now, they are a source of additional livelihood for several residents. “Now, residents make and market aloe vera products,” Mr. Paliwal concludes.

The progressive scheme that welcomes girl babies in Piplantri is having an impact on every part of the community. The village is greening its environment, changing attitudes toward women, reducing crime, and creating economic opportunity.

Profile of Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud

Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad SaudSince more than a decade now, this pair has been saving birds of prey on their rooftop-turned-shelter in Chawri Bazaar, old Delhi. Meet Nadeem Shehzad (36) and Mohammad Saud (32) who run a 24-hour bird rescue organisation that provides medical treatment and shelter to predatory birds. The brothers started the service in 2003, when they found an injured black kite and took it to the Jain Bird Hospital in Chandni Chowk. But since the bird hospital was in a temple, they refused to treat injured carnivorous birds. So the brothers had the vet pay the bird home visits, and finally released it after it fully recovered.

They were much amazed on “receiving the Sparrow Award since they work on Sparrow Hawks who eats Sparrows,” they joke. Their journey began out of a need for veterinary care for birds of prey and watching them die on the streets, uncared for. It has been more than a decade, but still, 95% of their efforts go out of their pockets.

Since that lone kite, they have sheltered, treated and look­ed after about 5000 raptor birds such as owls, eagles, kites, hawks and the occasional endangered vulture. Even without any formal training, they have learned to fix bones using steel wires, stitch wounds using absorbable thread, perform com­plicated surgeries and even prescribe medicines simply by observing veterinarians over the years.

Funds are major concern for the brothers as their business is dying and professional lives are coming to an end because of their involvement with conservation. With their experience, they feel that “veterinarians do not have required knowledge on birds, so we did not have anyone to go and look for help. So it was no one except us who can perform surgeries to the wounded bird or watch it die. This made us expert surgeons in avian orthopedic surgery.”

Interestingly, without being veterinarians professionally, they have managed to learn to treat the birds through books and consulting doctors. They run family business of making metallic soap dispensers and fountain nozzles and manage funds from this. Today, many wildlife organizations call them for help every day! They can operate on the birds, stitch their wounds and heal them. With almost no monetary support, their motorcycle operates as an ambulance and the rooftop of their home as their ‘little hospital’. They have already registered for a bird rescue organization, “Wildlife Rescue” and have launched 24X7 bird rescue helplines.

Although, their work has been covered by national and international media, Wipro-NFS Sparrow Award is their first award. Raising money is a major hurdle in their efforts and for them; the need of the hour is to make their organization self-sustaining so it keeps on functioning without their help. They believe that with no facility for birds of prey, it is their moral responsibility to do something for these birds.

They tell us that the fact that these birds will come to slow painful death without their help as it has nowhere to go and no one to take care keeps them going.“We want to start a proper rescue center with international standards,” they conclude.  

Read more on this Media Release from here.

Media Release by Arpita Bhagat, Project Officer, Nature Forever Society

Note: All the pictures published in this article have been received from Nature Forever Society. Nature Forever Society is the owner of the logo used in this article.

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