One fine morning in the year 1989, in our neighbourhood of Survey, Beltola a few of us decided to form a Nature Club. This idea came about since in those days ‘conservation’ wasn’t a word you would use in the context of environment, biodiversity etc. People would understand it to mean basically as tree planting! I remember in the early ‘90’s I had arranged a plantation program in the Girls’ Polytechnic, Bamunimaidam premises that was carried out by our Club members. The then Principal of that Institute agreed to allow us to proceed with it and we were delighted. We planted and fenced each plant with bamboo sticks and I requested the Principal to arrange for someone to take care, at least initially. Strangely, he expressed his inability in this regard! Here was an educationist who should have jumped at this initiative to make the campus environment green and he had the manpower to utilise in this effort! Anyway this shows that only like-minded individuals can work towards a goal and if others choose to join in then the goal is easier to achieve.
The evolution of Aaranyak Nature Club into the present organisation was inevitable with the participation of many enthusiastic scientists and nature-lovers. The vibrancy in all the varied activities could be felt over the years and to keep this in control we soon had to have an Administration wing and a Finance wing ,initially manned by our members . But as the legislations covering NGO’s became more stringent and our involvement with foreign funds deepened we had to take professional help and I can humbly claim that our organisation has a very high standard of governance. Without being complacent I would like to mention that from the days of tree -planting, bird -watching etc. to more advanced and contemporary fields like scientific research, genetics, capacity-building, legal policy reforms and so on it has been a long journey of thirty years; and for me it has been like raising a child to adulthood. Now, Aaranyak can claim to be on par if not better than any NGO worldwide and this has been made possible due to the tremendous hard work, dedication and belief of the scientists, staff and well-wishers of Aaranyak.
I think the importance of biodiversity conservation and environment protection need not be emphasised since these days everyone is familiar with the negative fall-out of climate change. I think we have wrongly taken Mother Nature’s bounty for granted and as unlimited . Deforestation, mining, wildlife-hunting etc. had taken its toll to such an extent that some species have been wiped out from the face of this earth ,so action must be taken now to preserve whatever is left. Remember, DOOMSDAY at this rate of destruction isn’t very far off (i.e. no living creature on our planet!) and we must strive to stop this at whatever the cost.