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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bird Atlas Kerala Musings on Onam 2017

So this year we 'did not have' Onam. Yes, Keralites will quickly connect to meaning of this sentence.  Let me explain for the benefit of others. Whenever a Keralite family does not celebrate Onam - they mention that situation as 'not having' Onam.  The most common reason is when you loose a close family member and this particular Onam falls in the ensuing 12 month mourning period.

So this year I ended up spending time to write stuff on Onam day and it resulted in this Facebook post about a recent interest of mine.

I realised that this post itself will be buried in my newsfeed on Facebook - going by the fact that I tend to post over 25 times in a day on this medium from the time we gave birth to our baby - SS Consulting. So in an attempt to make the contents searchable, I'm converting the same into a blog post.

On this #Onam day, I want to express my gratitude to my friends and related folks who via Facebook as well as in person, introduced me to the 'why' of documenting my #Birding activities. Little did I realise then (Early 2014) that will be contributing to #Nature and it's conservation activities beyond things that I will ever imagine myself or in the groups I will get exposed to in my lifetime.
I also love the fact that, the http://ebird.org/india platform provides numerous ways to #measure my contributions - albeit in esoteric ways at times - but measurement surely has been the reason why I keep exploring the depths that #CitizenScience has been able to offer. Trust the image I'm attaching to this most is less esoteric.
The ability / freedom to choose stuff which I do with my time which SS Consulting's contributions to #ITSME journey's in Kerala has been giving me from 2015 means that I'm now in a more comfortable position to think about spending over 10 days a month (besides wknds) for #birding.
Birding comes with many surprises, some pleasant and some very painful. Leeches, Deer-ticks (my nightmare), Elephants (while in Kerala's forests), snakes and harsh weather all add to the #StoryTelling value - once you are back in one piece and breathing ie.. 
So on this special time of the year for #BirdAtlasKerala - I'm daring to post an idea of mine on this platform. Here goes:
Wild thought - final year of atlas can we throw open to top Ebird Contributors from all over the world to contribute with their annual holiday spend in Kerala (subcells included) in a unique company of local (this is the uniqueness) bird experts volunteers from in and around a district.
Will need to rope in all relevant stakeholders from our state to make this branded as unique and once in a life time event - for the participants.
Needless to say, we will abide by all prevailing precautions / written laws and guidelines around protection of sensitive species.
This is birding for a cause along with local citizens (global + local = Glocal). So can be branded as a #Glocal contribution to #CitizenScience.
Have to get Ebird #metrics as determinants of participant selection, from the list of applicant #Birders via #Ebird. Example - Birders with a specific no of checklists / No. of species to get priority.
The global partners #CitizenScientists get a unique #Kerala paid holiday, so I'm sure Kerala Tourism will get the hang of it first  - while #BirdAtlasKerala gets a global launch - maybe get the CM to release the final atlas to the world in June 2020.
Rationale - this type of scale will make all naysayers see the real value of what our folks have been doing - selflessly.
The proceeds if any (although that should not be the objective) can be used to give back to #citizenscience - be it litigations or movement to conserve / bring out books or whatever. I'm sure we can find ways to put money to use.
This will also get the much needed attention from Media and Corporates - for whom #CSR is still on paper . Many miss the fact that there is a category for Environmental Sustainability in Schedule VII.
As for birding - it will be taken to a statewide scale and beyond the "hotspots" - that's good for birds and conservation as well.
To put it into the plan and make it unique - let's say we do a repeat of all #Forest subcells again in the final year of #BirdAtlasKerala - 2019-20. I've already decided to put this idea to test in person during the next season along with some friends.
Having said all this, I'm requesting all my birding pals, most of whom I met via FB, to tag themselves to this post if they feel 'Yes' for exploring this. Yes, this is not fully formed or critiqued as an idea yet and I'm hoping to use this platform for refining the idea itself.
My take is that even if we take the commercial angle out of this idea and execute it for Conservation, we will reach the moon - as this to me (Did check with few pals as well) is aiming for the stars.
Yes, to connect to some #results about success of the concept, imagine the hundreds of well meaning devotees of various religious and spiritual sects across our country who are making a living from #Volunteers who throng for #Seva.
Tagging few of my #Birding pals for attention and requesting anyone who feel they met me via birding to comment / tag themselves to this post.
#HappyOnam2017 - Wishing you all a great year ahead.
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