Trek Polmaa III - Speaker Profiles

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nilgiris Biosphere and Conservation
by C.R.Jayaprakash
Sunday, Mar 11, 4pm
Profile :

Working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore. Staff Coordinator of Eco Club of this College.

Had worked in the Tamil Dailies Dina malar and Dina mani at Coimbatore and Nilgiris.

Published 8 research articles, presented 15 research papers in national and international Seminars/Conferences. Chaired sessions in 4 Conferences.

Conducted sensitisation programs for Media students, Media persons at Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve and Periyar Tiger Reserves. This major research project was funded by Wildlife Conservation Society - India in the beginning of the year 2011. Organised Sensitisation program for Lawyers of Madurai High Court at Periyar Tiger Reserve on behalf of Tamil Nadu Green Movement and Periyar Tiger Foundation.

He has delivered around lectures on his favorite subject - Media and Wildlife Conservation. He is into Conservation Photography too. Won 4 awards in Photography. Habitat - a street play team initiated by him at Eco Club, PSG CAS had won the First prize in the Forest Department's Inter Collegiate Skit Competition in December 2011 and Third Prize in the Anna University Technofest -2012, All India inter collegiate event in February 2012.

Member in
  • Coimbatore Press Club
  • Coimbatore Advertising Club
  • Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Mumbai
  • Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), Mumbai
  • Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association (NWEA), Ooty
  • Madras Naturalists Society (MNS), Chennai
  • Palani Hills Conservation Council (PHCC), Kodaikanal
  • Salim Ali Naturalist's Forum (SANF) Coimbatore
  • Arulagam, Coimbatore
Maintaining a website on Media and Environment for the sixth year.

How a photograph of a little frog can save our planet?
by Amoghavarsha
Saturday, Mar 10, 12pm
Profile :

Wildlife photographer and Filmmaker Amoghavarsha has travelled extensively, documenting the planet’s bio-diversity and helping conserve through his images. He has photographed the thick evergreens of Arunachal to the Barren landscapes of Ladakh, From the western ghats in south India to the vast plains of Africa. Having worked as naturalist, he loves telling stories about the natural world with his photographs. Hailing from a technology background and makes use of new media to help spread the message of conservation. He has worked with many media organizations organizations to carry out conservation messages and conducts photo-workshops and expeditions from time to time and believes education is the first step in conservation.

Experience :
  • Has freelanced with many media organizations and publications working on wildlife, travel and conservation issues.
  • Works with CEE (Center for Environment Education) and the Forest Dept. on conservation and education projects, including setting up of Information centers, conducting educational programs and providing content for publications on nature and wildlife.
  • Worked with Felis creations, a wildlife film and photography company as a photographer and cameraman for the National Geographic movie - “Secrets of the King Cobra”
  • Photographs and Articles have been published in magazines and coffee table books including Karnataka Govt publication “Wild Vistas”
  • Works have been published in many international forums, like WWF Calendars, National Geographic and other Indian forums.
  • Has conducted over 100 photography workshops and expeditions across India for Individuals and companies.
  • Worked as a part time naturalist in one of the deciduous jungles of south india and has participated in many govt. organized census and surveys of animals and birds, including tiger census and bird survey.
  • Has been part of the team which documented the Volvo Ocean Race.
  • Has worked with Microsoft research on the cutting edge Digital Narratives media project.
  • Has freelanced for many travel organizations including “Mahindra Holidays”.
Portfolio :
Website ->  |  Portfolio -> |  Bangalore, India  |  +91-9901044344  |

Fish species in South India
by Balaji Vijayakrishnan
Saturday, Mar 10, 9am
Profile :

Balaji Vijayakrishnan is an HR Professional working with the TVS group in Madras. A keen interest in nature coupled with an accidental induction into fish keeping when very young resulted in a room filled with tanks, buckets filled with worms and tubs overrun with insect larvae.

Balaji is a Moderator on IAH (Indian Aquarium, India's premier website dedicated to all the Aquarists of India and the rest of the world. The web portal was started in June 2003 and currently has around 6000 members from the world over. The portal addresses the lack of India specific information on Aquarium Hobby as well as to explore and study the aquatic wealth of our country.

With a special interest in native Indian fish, he travels around south India every month covering the Western and the Eastern Ghats as the Icthyofaunal diversity of south India, especially the Western Ghats in very poorly studied. These trips are made to study how these fish live in the wild, to document and duplicate the environmental conditions required for their survival in captivity as well as identifying new and undescribed species. These trips also help understand the plight of our native Indian fish due to human interference.

Balaji hopes to cover the entire area of the Western Ghats in the coming years to truly understand the aquatic wealth the hidden rivers and streams have to offer.

Mountaineering and Knots
by Nagin & Sujai
Saturday, Mar 10, 5pm
Profile Nagin:

My introduction to adventure started when I joined the Scout movement when I was 12 years old. Reached the highest level when I became President's Scout. Lots of camping, pioneering activities, outdoor skills learning and practising has stood me good when I started serious trekking and mountaineering. I became member of a Mountaineering Club in 1980, probably the first such club in Tamilnadu. I went on to do my Basic and Advanced Mountaineering courses at NIM, Uttarkashi. From our club we went on Himalayan Expeditions every year, the latest being Bagirathi 2 Peak, 22,000 ft, in the Garhwal Himalayas.

The second part of my adventure activities began when I joined CTC in 2009 for the Clean Tada campaign. Endless trekking activities in CTC continue to this day.

Profile Sujai:

Sujai has been with CTC for the past 4 years. He is a person who believes that one has to try to remain calm even in the toughest of situations.
A bored software engineer ,he was planning to leave Chennai for good and relocate when he joined CTC . "Life has totally changed after that. I cant imagine of leaving Chennai now", he says.

His passion for Adventure ,Mountaineering and Photography grew over the years. He has completed the Basic Mountaineering Course from Himalayan Mountaineering Institue[HMI] , Darjeeling with an 'A' Grade. He spoke about Mountaineering in all the previous editions of Trek Polama.

Map reading, GPS, Navigation
by Peter Van Geit
Sunday, Mar 11, 5pm
Profile :

Peter Van Geit, born and raised in Belgium, is settled in Chennai for the last 14 years, working as a Project Manager in CISCO Systems India. An explorer by nature, Peter has driven over 50,000 kms across India on his bullet and including the Himalayas four times. A few years ago, he founded the Chennai Trekking Club (CTC), a non-profit volunteer based group of trekking enthusiasts who explore mountains and jungles across South India nearly all weekends of the year. This Chennai based group has currently close to 15.000 members and is rapidly growing with 500 new members each month being the largest and most active trekking community in India. CTC is a place where like-minded strangers come together in a open, volunteering and collaborative environment - overcoming challenges together as a team, pushing oneself beyond his physical and mental limits, surviving by their own means, breeding a selfless volunteering attitude, mentoring organizational skills and come out as friends for life and recharged human beings.

Peter is knowledgeable in map reading, navigation and GPS, has taken thousands of trekkers to many previously unexplored locations and discovered hidden waterfalls, beautiful gorges, ancient forts, jeep trails hidden deep inside the jungles.

Marathon, Barefoot Running
by Anand Anantharaman (59)
Saturday, Mar 10, 2pm
Profile :

Anand Anantharaman is a trekker and runner. He has trekked extensively in the rainforests of Borneo in Malaysia. In the Himalayas, he has trekked near the Badrinath forests, visiting the Valley of Flowers three times. He has also done a lot of trekking in south India too, where he followed the course of bandit Veerappan, named Veerappan Trails.

He was first inspired by Anil Ambani and Milind Soman, into taking to marathon running. A finance consultant by profession, at the age of 55 Anand first ran the Mumbai (half) Marathon in 2007, which he repeated for two more years.

Then he ran marathons in Singapore, Hong Kong, Seattle (USA) and Dubai. Soon he got tired of running city marathons, and started concentrating on exotic runs, also graduating to full marathons:

Places where Anand has run a full marathon (42 Kilometres)

  • Great Wall of China
  • Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya (amongst giraffes and zebras)
  • Ayer’s Rock in Australia
  • OMSK in the interiors of Siberia, Russia
  • Athens 2010 (0n 31 Oct 2010, the 2500th anniversary of original marathon)
  • Disneyworld, Florida, USA
  • North Pole
  • Borneo, Malaysia
  • Galapagos, S America
  • Antarctica
  • Having run marathons in seven continents and in the North Pole, Anand joined the exclusive “Marathon Grand Slam”, which has about 50 members worldwide on 1st December, 2012

Currently, Anand is concentrating on Barefoot Running, having run full marathons barefoot in 3 continents, and hopes to complete 6 continents this year.

Gold Coast, Australia | Mumbai, India |  Pietermaritzburg, S.Africa

First Aid
by Dr Arun Kumar
Sunday, Mar 11,0 11am

Profile :

Dr. Arun is a General surgeon, with special interests in minimally invasive (Key hole / Laparoscopy) and Bariatric (Obesity) surgery. He is currently working as an assistant surgeon for a corporate hospital in Chennai. He completed his under graduation in Russia, with special interest in Russian literature with a qualified degree. He had his surgical training in Chennai 3 yrs back. He is also interested in aviation medicine. He is a class 2 medical examiner for the DGCA and was a medical instructor for the pilots and the cabin crew. He is interested in teaching and have been working in medical colleges for a while as a lecturer in the field of surgery. His hobbies are biking and have done long rides. He is into trekking now.

Turtle conservation
by V. Arun
Sunday, Mar 11,0 2pm

Profile :

Arun has been with the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) from 1997 and has been coordinator of the group since 2002. Since the time he joined, his focus has been in reaching out to the public to involve the larger community in safeguarding the interests of not just turtles but the environment in general. Towards this he holds discussions with various groups of people both on the turtle walks that happen every weekend during turtle season and in schools and colleges.

Arun qualified as an engineer and worked in the field for seven years in Bombay. There, through his various forest experiences gained from forest walks and through interactions with members of the Bombay Natural History Society, he realized that nature conservation was his true calling. He then switched to teaching Environment Education and worked as a teacher in the Krishnamurti Foundation School, Chennai for 12 years.

Arun now lives with his family on the outskirts of Thiruvannamalai on an organic farm. Here he is fully involved in environmental education projects with local school children, afforestation of the Arunachala Hill and organic farming. Arun and his team run a small farm based alternate school called the Marudam Farm School.

Arun is a resource person for groups like Nizhal and often conducts Tree Walks in parks, in Guindy National Park, Theosophical Society etc. He also regularly takes groups of people including children on green birding trips.

HAM Radio
by Aravind Balasubramaniam
Sunday, Mar 11, 6pm

Profile :

  • Amateur Radio Licence holder (Ham) since 1989 - Callsign - vu2abs
  • Hamradio Profile -
  • Professional profile -
  • Provided communication support for motorsports events conducted by Madras Motorsports Club (South India Rally) and Off roading events conducted by Jeep Thrills -
  • Trekked with CTC from 2009 - organized and participated in over 25 treks & non trek events
  • Gave communication support for the Save Tada - 2 with the help of 4 other Chennai Hams which proved invaluable
  • Facilitated 3 ASOC Exams (Amateur Station Operator's Certificate) - necessary for obtaining Ham Radio Licence.
  • Active Ham radio Contester
Turned entrepreneur and am currently into R&DD (Research & Development/Destruction) and manufacturing wireless antenna's and accessories

Waterfalls in Tamil Nadu
by Dharma Chandru
Saturday, Mar 10, 10am

Profile :

Dharma chandru is a well known freelance photographer who is specialized in wildlife, sports, underwater, panoramic and aerial. Chandru constantly updates himself on the latest in photography. He got into panoramic photography after being gifted a book on it by ace cinematographer, PC Sriram.

He never did a course in photography or apprenticed with any professionals. On the contrary, he is an engineering graduate who has also studied sound engineering.
He was selected as the official photographer for Royal Challengers Bangalore during IPL 3 and now he is the in-house photographer for Vijay Mallya’s UB Group. During IPL3, he clicked many pictures of Rahul Dravid and other players without their knowledge. when uploaded, the pictures on the Royal Challengers page, it got 50,000 hits within 12 hours. His pictures have been featured in Tamilnadu Tourism.

Interestingly, He started photography as a hobby with his Minolta camera and he has also travelled to many African and Asian countries. His philosophy is ‘do the job perfectly and credits will automatically pour in due time’.

For more:

Crocodiles, Conservation and Croc Bank
by Colin Stevenson
Sunday, Mar 11, 9am
Profile :

Colin Stevenson is the Director of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT). He has been involved in crocodile conservation for many years, and is also a long time member of the Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG), and the various task forces within the CSG as well as Chairman of the Gharial Conservation Alliance (through MCBT). Having started his working life in the IT world, Colin shifted over to his lifelong passion of working with crocodiles. He owned a small zoo in Australia, as well as starting a successful education business based on taking crocodiles and other reptiles around to schools and events. He then established this unique idea in the UK, the only one in the country. In India, the aim is to help MCBT with it's goal of conserving the reptiles and amphibians within this region.

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust/Centre for Herpetology
Post Bag 4, Vadanamelli Village, East Coast Road, 
Mamallapuram-603 104, Tamil Nadu, India

An Approach to Learn Photography
by Karthick Rajagopalan
Saturday, Mar 10, 6pm
Profile :

Silver halide and silicon was running through my veins at an early age before I even learned to read. I was suggesting f-stops for the family photos while in diapers at age 2. Well at least that’s the way these profiles tend to sound and include statements like: “Karthik saw a need to show social life of people captured on film for generations to see.”

In reality the true story would read more like the following: I had just entered my corporate career as a research engineer and I still dint know where I had my interest apart from work, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” One fine day in 2005 I went back to my engineering school when I met Mr. Ajay Narendran who was taking care of our computer programming lab. On that day he showed me his canon Rebel and a set of photographs he shot. Drawing inspiration from Ajay, I joined Ambitions4 and first set of lessons on Photography were from Mr. Rajaponsingh.

Later it was lot of self-learning experimenting, books, endless resources on the web which is responsible for who I am today. Though I did not concentrate on building a good portfolio for me, I have a very good understanding of photography and lighting. This is a place my engineering background comes handy.

I joined Chennai Trekking Club last year. It provided the necessary fodder for my passion in photography as I visited some of the best unexplored, trailess & road less travelled spots in and around Tamil Nadu/ Andhra.

During the course of many such explorations I started presenting Photography Workshops to the members of the Chennai Trekking Club which was widely appreciated esp by amateur photo enthusiasts.

My dream is to have my own photography institute and take photography as my career.

More information on his work can be found at

Conservation issues facing the Melagiri
by Sanjeev Kumar S R
Saturday, Mar 10, 4pm
Profile :

Sanjeev is an entrepreneur who spends more than just his spare time exploring the Melagiris.

Living in Hosur, puts the jungles of Melagiris practically in his backyard. This has given him ample opportunity to indulge his twin passions for natural history and photography.

A founder member of Kenneth Anderson Nature Society, Sanjeev is presently the President of KANS. Being a part of KANS has given him an opportunity to interact closely with the forest department and the civilian stake holders. He finds the experience fascinating and frustrating in equal measure.

Seeing the Melagiris restored back to its former glory is a long cherished dream shared by the members of KANS.

Animal Welfare
by Dawn Williams & Ravichandra Kadiyala

Saturday, Mar 10, 11am

Profile : Ravichandra Kadiyala
Working for Infosys Ltd.Core member of Karunya Animal Welfare Society, Infosys Technologies Limited.Nearly 2 years of experience in Animal rescue, fostering and conducting adoption programs.Part of the Water Bowl project-2011 in partnership with Blue Cross of India. 
Profile : 
  • Serving as the General Manager Blue Cross of India.
  • Retired from the Armed Forces (infantry) Black Cat Commando (NSG)
  • Apart from the regular Commando training also specialized in:
  • UAC (Un-Armed Combat)
  • Physical Training Instructor
  • Weapon Training
  • Bomb Disposal
  • Sniper weapons
  • Survival techniques 
  • Advance Fire Fighting and Rescue Operations
Fought in:
  • Operation Blue Star
  • Black Thunder I
  • Black Thunder II
  • Operation Rhino
  • IPKF Sri Lanka
  • Operation Sunny Vale
  • Operation Vijay (Kargil)
  • Received Commendations for attacking and killing terrorists.
  • Received: Dr. Rajendra Prasad State Award (Tamil Nadu)
  • Received:  Dr. Ambedekar National Fellowship Award (New Delhi)
  • Received: Pillars of strength Life time achievement award from the community.
Master Animal Handler India
  • Conduct regular Training for animal handling in all parts of the country.
  • Conduct regular Training Sensitizing Police Officers on Animal Laws (Tamil Nadu Police)
  • Represent Animal Welfare Board of India Inspecting shooting of films using animals.
News articles

Youth Hostels Association of India
by Venkatnarayanan
Sunday, Mar 11, 11am

Profile :
Mr Venkatnarayanan is the chairman of YHAI India

Youth Hostelling as a movement has not taken long to establish in the world. During the course of the last almost eighty years, it has spread from country to country and spanned all the five continents.
The movement is based on two basic urges in the youth - love for the unknown, which includes desire for adventure and the desire to make friends.
Since the movement started in Germany in the second decade of last century, there was very little opportunity for young people of limited means to travel at will and see and enjoy the beautiful places in their own country and the world around. The virtues of travel have been acknowledged in all ages and in all climes. Its hazards and uncertainities and costs used to be too great to allow the common youth to get as much benefit from it as was desired.
The development of the means of communication and the establishment of youth hostels in more beautiful and attractive spots in many countries has made the opportunity of travel at a nominal cost far more easily available for youth.

Snakes in South India
by Anand Joseph
Sunday, Mar 11, 3pm

Profile :
Anand works in the Shipping industry by profession.

He has been into nature and wildlife conservation for the past 12 years.

He has been taking classes about snakes for 7 yrs.He has a team which does snake rescue in Coimbatore.

When asked how he got interested in the Snakes, he says
"Chennai was not like it was before. Little mount was a forest area then and snakes were regular visitors in my home. That's how I got interested in them." 

Water Ecosystems in and around Chennai
by Dr Babu
Saturday, Mar 10, 12pm

Dr Babu is the chief panelist NIZHAL



  1. Alavandi SV, Babu TD, Abilash KS,  Chakaravarthy N, Vijayan KK, Kalamani N, Santigao TC “Loose Shell Syndrome Causes Low-Level Mortality in India’s Black Tiger Shrimp” in Global Aquaculture Advocate, May/June 2007, Vol. 10 Issue 3.
  1. Alavandi SV, Babu TDAbilash KS, Vijayan KK, Kalamani N, Santigao TC., 2008. “Loose shell Syndrome of Farmed Penaeus monodon in India is caused by filterable agent”  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, Vol. 81: 163-171 
National: (popular articles)

  1. BabuTD, Abilash KS, Alavandi SV,Vijayan KK, Kalamani N, Santigao TC., 2009.  “Loose Shell Syndrome – A Silent Killer of farmed black tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon in India in Aquatoday, Vol 3: 29-31.
  1. Babu TD, 2010. “Penaeus vannamei is not an indispensable alternative to revive Aquaculture in India”. Fishing Chimes Vol. 30 (6).

       a)  Best Poster Presentation Award for paper entitled Loose Shell Syndrome – A Silent Killer of
 farmed black tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon in India in International Conference on
 Emerging infectious diseases of animals and biotechnological applications organized by Virginia 
University of Animal MedicineUSA and Tamil Nadu University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences,
Chennai. During July 28-29,2008.

    b)  Senior Research Fellowship was awarded by ICAR for the AP Cess Project entitled  
         “Investigation of Loose Shell Syndrome among the farmed Black Tiger Shrimp, Penaeus monodon, in
India, CIBA, Chennai, during 2005- 2008

Membership in scientific societies
  1. Board of Studies, R.M.K.Vivekananda College, Mylapore, Chennai.
  2. Aquaculture Foundation of India, (AFI) Chennai.
  3. Ocean Society of India (OSI), Cochin.
  4. Society of Aquaculture Professionals (SAP), Chennai.
  5. CIBA Science Forum, Chennai.
  6. Coastal Aquaculture Society of India (CASI), Chennai
  7. Madras Naturalists’ Society, (MNS), Chennai.
  8. Nizhal, Chennai
  9. GAIA International Organisation, Chennai. - NGO
  10. Centre for Education and Development Alternative, (CEDA), Chennai.



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