People of Nature

Conservation Optimism Stories from the Unheard India

funded by the 4th IndiaBioscience Outreach Grants 2023

Listen to Unheard Voices from India’s Conservation Landscape

Join us for engaging discussions about the environment & our connection to nature.

Meet our speakers who are doing pioneering work in conservation

Our goal is to educate & inspire our listeners.

join the people of nature community

Join our community, where you can share ideas & engage in meaningful conversations about important environmental issues.

About Us

The People of Nature Podcast is a science communication initiative funded by the 4th IndiaBioScience Outreach Grants 2023.

We invite speakers from minorities and economically backward classes to tell their own life stories brimming with conservation optimism.

Our speakers are scientists, educators and conservationists coming from largely sidelined communities including tribal folk, women and transgender wildlife biologists, as well as those from economically backward classes.

The podcast will inspire the young generation to take up conservation as a career, consider environmental issues seriously and appreciate the work of the unnamed heroes who work towards achieving a better planet irrespective of societal pressures and challenges.

Meet Chinmaya Ghanekar

Chinmaya is a marine biologist and a certified SCUBA diver with a keen interest in the interdisciplinary approaches to address marine biodiversity conservation. 

Chinmaya completed her Ph.D. research, on Ecology of Seagrass associated fishes and Conservation Perspectives of Seagrass ecosystems in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar at WII while holding a masters degree in biodiversity from Pune University.

Her research interests revolve around ecological studies of lesser-known marine mammals, including dugongs, and humpback whales. Additionally, she is also studying current areas such as blue carbon assessment and the conflict between humans and wildlife in marine environments.

Episode released on 10th July 2024

Meet Aarini Ghosh

Aarini is a masters in Zoology and is currently pursuing her PhD from Ashoka University. For her PhD she studies song diversity and evolution, especially nocturnal song diversity in subtropical forests of Meghalaya, using bioacoustics. 

Aarini has discovered three cricket species, belonging to the Genus Hexacentrus, previously unknown to science! Prior to her current engagement as a PhD scholar with Ashoka, Aarini has worked with IISER Kolkata and IISER Tirupati.

Episode released on 30th June 2024

Meet Anand Pendharkar

Anand Pendharkar is an Ecologist, Social Entrepreneur, Author of multiple books, Motivational & TEDx Speaker, Certified International Zoo Educator, Professional Teacher Trainer, and Visiting Faculty. 

In 1995 he established the well-known Environment Consulting & Services company SPROUTS and is its CEO. SPROUTS is conducting different projects like butterfly gardens, terrace farms, documenting biodiversity as well as camps & treks for schools, colleges, housing colonies & villages. 

He is also the Founder and Director of the associated Conservation NGO – SPROUTS Environment Trust (established in 2002).

Episode released on 20th June 2024

Meet Prachi Hatkar

Prachi is currently pursuing her PhD, at the Wildlife Institute of India focusing on Dugong conservation in the Gulf of Kutch.

As the first Indian woman to receive an international grant for diving certification from the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Prachi is breaking barriers in the field.

With a passion for marine life diversity assessment and conservation’s intersection with livelihoods, Prachi is a naturalist dedicated to conserving our marine ecosystems for future generations.

Episode released on 10th June 2024

Meet Sneha Dhwarwadkar

Sneha is a wildlife biologist, currently pursuing PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences.

She is a co-founder of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises Foundation (FFTF), that works on the research, education, and community conservation of the freshwater turtles and tortoises of India.

Listen to her on the various experiences she got working on the under-rated turtles & tortoises!

Episode streaming now!

Episode released on 30th May 2024

Meet Sobiya Syeed

Sobiya is a young conservationist working with communities on safeguarding insect fauna of Kashmir Himalayas!

Sobiya is a member of various national and international organizations such as IUCN, WCPA, ESI, and ISTF.

Sobiya belongs to an area which is still considered conserved for women & has seen conflict & violence from decades.

Listen to her story!

Episode released on 20th May 2024

Meet Sneha Shahi

Sneha is a young river conservationist who has been instrumental in rejuvenating Bhukhi stream, inhabited by crocodiles,  in Vadodara with UG student participation.

Working as a Plastic campaign advocate for UNEP, Sneha is currently pursuing her PhD at ATREE, Bengaluru. 

Listen to her story on stream and river conservation through peoples’ participation, challenges she faced, and the outcome she is fighting for!

Listen to her story!

Episode released on 10th May 2024

Meet Dr. Ishtiyak Ahmad

Dr. Ishtiyak is a leading researcher in forest conservation working towards sustainable forest resource use in the Kashmir Himalayas.

Through his several projects he demonstrates that it is possible to lead successful conservation action in remotest areas with harsh climate, working in rugged terrain! 

Listen to how he is bringing together the youth of Kashmir, forest department, and several government agencies for conservation of the Himalayan flora.

Listen to his story!

Episode released on 30th April 2024

Meet Debangini Ray

Listen to the amazing story of Debangini as an interdisciplinary ecologist emphasizing multidisciplinary nature of conservation science, working as a Senior Outreach Coordinator, Marine Flagship Project, Dakshin Foundation as well as pursuing her PhD from MIT-WPU Pune.

Getting inspired from her parents and the intricate connection she developed with nature as a child, Debangini now works full time in the conservation landscape.

Tune in to know how her work touches communities, seascape, landscape, nightscape, and involves rigorous studies in human perception of owls.

Listen to her story!

Episode released on 25th April 2024

Meet Divya Bharathi M., IFS

Listen to the incredible story of Smt. Divya Bharathi as a Deputy Conservator of Forests at Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.

Living her childhood dream of being in forests, Divya enjoys managing one of the oldest tiger reserves in the country.

Listen to her story!

Episode released on 20th April 2024

Meet Arunima

Working as a block coordinator with the Hans Foundation, Arunima talks about her varied experiences working with Women of Garhwal Himalayas and how they are taking lead in forest conservation.

Episode released on 31st March 2024

Meet Dr. Meena Venkataraman

With over 20+ years of experience working on big cats and other mammals, Dr. Meena is a leading wildlife biologist having extensively worked on Asiatic Lions of Gujarat.

Episode released on 16th March 2024

Meet Adyasha Naik

Adyasha Nayak is a researcher with the Wildlife Institute of India in Kaziranga National Park. Adyasha worked towards bridging the gap between local communities and conservation through ecotourism.

Episode released on 29th February 2024

Meet Vidhi Modi

Vidhi works as a Senior Research Fellow with Corbett Foundation at its Kutch division. Her work focuses on conservation of grasslands and their associated species.

Episode released on 15th February 2024

Meet Deepika Chhetri

Deepika Chhetri is a Development Professional. She has worked on different thematic areas – waste management, community mobilization, developing alternative livelihoods and developing rural enterprises. Tune in to our podcast to know more about her experience working with tribal communities of Assam.
Link in bio!

Episode released on 31st January 2024

Meet Dr. Kalloli Dutta

For our second podcast episode, let us welcome Dr. Kalloli Dutta, an Assam-based landscape ecologist and conservationist.

Opening up on her wide-ranging career spanning landscape ecology, community conservation and environmental consultation, Dr. Kalloli recounts her roller-coaster journey as a conservationist.

Episode released on 15th January 2024

Meet Dr. Mehreen Khaleel

For our first episode, we welcome Dr. Mehreen Khaleel, a primatologist now leading community-level biodiversity conservation in her native Jammu and Kashmir.

Episode released on 30th December 2023.

Meet The Team

bringing the best to you from the field

Pankaj Koparde


Pankaj is an evolutionary ecologist working as an Assistant Professor MIT-WPU, Pune. His core expertise is in Urban Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, & Biodiversity Informatics. He loves to engage in conservation outreach.   

Arjit Jere

Podcast Co-creator Content Writer

Arjit is an ecologist-turned-nature educator and science communicator. He uses science communication, particularly written articles & podcasts to spread awareness about India’s environmental issues & rich wildlife.

Mrunal Kulkarni

Illustrator & Social Media Manager

Mrunal is  a biologist and science illustrator putting together her love for art and science to captivate people’s minds and make science accessible and enjoyable to all.