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People write to the President of India asking for a Ban on Chinese manja

On the 15th & 16th of March, as part of our#WorldSparrowDay celebrations, we displayed a stall at Oberoi Mall, Goregaon.

As part of one of the activities, we asked people to write a poster to “the President of India” requesting him to “Help impose a nation-wide Ban on Chinese/nylon/glass manja which massacres hundreds of birds each year beside lethally injuring many human beings and children.

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Children as young as 6 years and adults as old (or young, if you believe age is just a number) as 65-70 years participated.

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Here are some of the images from the activity. If you too believe in our campaign to BAN this lethal product, please “sign/Share” our online petition: http://chn.ge/1cZWAA5

Share if you love birds.

World Sparrow Day social media presence

#WorldSparrowDay pic.twitter.com/UI39qX4SsJ

 

 

#Conservation

 

 

 http://www.natureforever.org/blog/2014/03/20/sparrows-home/ 

 

 

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Missing the sparrows in Bangalore

Today, March 20, is World Sparrow Day.
 
During my childhood in Bangalore in the 1970s-80s, sparrows were a part of our everyday life, much the way rock pigeons just merge with the high-rise landscape today.
 
Scores of sparrows would be all over the backyard, chirping on the pomegranate and guava trees. Unafraid of humans, the sparrows hopped around on the ground whenever mom cleaned the rice, in expectation of falling grains. (Yes, the rice used to have stones that needed to be removed, and chaff that would blow away in the wind as the rice was tossed up and down on the “morram”.)
 
My friends and I would spend time counting the males and females, that are easily distinguishable. One of our story books had a tale about why the male has black marks on its neck while the female does not. I couldn’t remember the story, but after searching the internet, found a blog post on this that can be read here.
 
There were times when we would see the vagabond Tom cat sneakingly stalking the unsuspecting birds as they drank from the pond, and we would run to chase the fellow away with the satisfaction that we have saved them.
 
It was not uncommon to see sparrow nests between the inner and outer layers of our house’s tiled roof. After the babies were out, and the nest abandoned, we’d be fascinated by the intricate construction and warmth that enabled the propagation of the species.
 
 
Slowly, and rather surreptitiously, the sparrows vanished from Bangalore. Common people who may have hardly noticed their disappearance, would be reminded of them years later, only when they found the birds jump onto their tables at Bangalore’s Devanahalli airport.
 
There are many theories about why the sparrows may have left Bangalore. Over the last few years, several efforts have been made to bring them back. Last year, Gubbi Labs complied a small book “Of House Sparrows and Human Settlements”, that gives the distribution of House Sparrows in Bangalore. The book can be read/ downloaded here.
 
Sparrows have been conspicuous by their absence in the Puttenahalli Lake/ JP Nagar area. As urban house birds, the lake environment currently may not be conducive to house them. However, people in the neighbourhood can try to get them back into the area. To know how, please read here.
 
In Mumbai north suburbs, where I currently live, sparrows are abundantly found, and I’m happy that the children around here share some of my childhood sparrow joys. Wish the same for Bangalore too.
 
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Arathi Manay ಆರತಿ ಮಾನೆ
 
Arathi is a trustee of Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) that maintains Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar, Bangalore. She writes often on her blog http://arathimy.wordpress.com/ and contributes to many websites and dailies. She can be followed on twitter @arathimy.
 
Image: House Sparrow – Male, Bandipur, May 2009 Credits:Arathi Manay

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Celebrate WSD with CBMI this year

In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it. –Marianne Williamson

During your schooldays, when you were asked to write an article on environmental degradation, you would have always written in the solution part, “We must help to redress the harm done to nature”. Huh! Very easy to say but the real question is how many of us practice these virtues today? Many a times it is not that you have forgotten your ethics learnt at school. But you could not find a platform from where to launch your initiative.

This year, to do your tiny bit for the Sparrows and other common birds, all you need to do is take the support of your school/college authorities to put up the CBMI poster in their institution. A one-of-its-kind initiative, CBMI is a citizen science project that urges people to just take out 15 minutes of their time to monitor birds in and around their homes, offices and educational institutions.

Ms. Taneja with CBMI poster at her college (Lady Sriram College) in Delhi

Ms. Taneja with CBMI poster at her college (Lady Sriram College) in Delhi

However, such initiatives can never be successful without the wholehearted support of people, especially volunteers. The only reason why India lacks relevant scientific data on current common bird species distribution and numbers is due to the logistical, manpower and monetary challenges that bird monitoring faces. CBMI wants to bridge this gap by collaborating with people like you. CBMI aims to bring together the enthusiastic citizens of the country for monitoring common bird species. The citizens report bird sightings to CBMI, which the latter will scientifically synthesize and statistically analyze through its researchers.

Come and be a part of this project. This is ‘your’ time to rise and take a step forth to do something which has never been done before in the nation. Remember, ‘a responsible citizen is not the one who yells the river is dirty, but the one who cleans it up’.

Time is running out! Be a part of the one of its kind event. To join, use the following links:

To volunteer, shoot an email to arpita@natureforever.org with your area of interest, skills and contact number.

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Be the author of change for the Sparrows!

If a man happened to come from the distant past into our present era, he would certainly be taken aback by the concrete jungle that has substituted the serene wilderness of the pre-globalization era. The cities and towns shriek the entire day through the noisy vehicles of the roads. So much so, that we have almost forgotten to listen to and enjoy the melodic chirpings of the birds around us. One such bird that has been nearly wiped off from the urban areas is the famous House Sparrow.

House sparrow has always been a very vital part of our civilization. Talking about religion and mythology, Aphrodite is said to have often perched on this bird. In contemporary era, Chairman Mao included them as part of his Four Pests Campaign in 1958, which helped lay the groundwork for China’s Great Famine. House sparrows have long been considered the barometer of human environments. But it is pitiable to find that their population in the last two decades has dipped sharply and unabatedly. The rise in vehicular pollution due to noise or toxic gases, along with soil pollution has said to have contributed the sparrow population to decline by 70% from 1977 to 2008 in UK.

So, who is the one that has to redress all the harm done to our avian companions? Well, it is none other than “us”. Yes, this is time to reflect on the possible measures to help the sparrows. Wondering where to take the first step? Nature Forever Society has come up with its unique initiative called World Sparrow Day, where all are asked to join the bandwagon to celebrate the beauty of the biodiversity along with conveyance of a strong message that of protection and conservation of House Sparrows.

World Sparrow Day has a much broader vision to provide a podium where people who are working on the conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds can network, collaborate and exchange ideas for conservation, which will lead to improved results. It aims to bring about a confluence of people from different parts of the world and help them form a force that can play a significant role in advocating the need of conserving common biodiversity or species of lower conservation status.

This year, World Sparrow day will be celebrated over a week’s time in Mumbai via a myriad type of events; ranging from a presentation with students at Rachna Sansad College of Applied Art & Craft on 14th March to a conference at Godrej industries in Mumbai. The event will also have interactive activities for people of all ages at Oberoi Mall in Mumbai on the 15th and 16th of March. Besides, Sparrow walks in the Fort area, WSD would also hold organize a workshop on Environmental journalism, emerging media and policy at Press Club, Mumbai. The event will conclude on 20th march with Sparrow awards ceremony at Maharashtra Nature Park, Mahim.

You can celebrate WSD at your homes, offices and schools too. Check out, this page for some interesting ideas.

If you love Sparrows, lend a helping hand to WSD team. If you also like to engage with people, spread awareness or are good at public speaking and events management, then this is just the right opportunity for you. And you also get a chance to win experience certificates.

Time is running out! Be a part of the one of its kind event.

Earlier post on volunteering details: http://www.natureforever.org/blog/2014/02/20/world-sparrow-day-team-invites-volunteers-year/

To volunteer, shoot an email to arpita@natureforever.org with your area of interest, event, skills and contact number.

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