Trek Polamaa 2016 – Feb 20-21 – Speaker Profiles

Rajendra Ratnoo, IAS, is currently the Managing Director of Poompuhar Shipping Corporation Limited, as well as the Commissioner of Social Security Schemes in the office of the Commissioner of Revenue Administration. Born and brought up in a small village in Jodhpur, Ratnoo realized the collective aspiration of his family by successfully making it to the prestigious Civil Services in 2001. During his tenure as a collector in several southern districts such as Vellore, Kanyakumari and Cuddalore, he won hearts through his hands-on involvement in disaster preparedness and relief, especially during the 2004 Tsunami. Over the last 12 years, he has handled five flood situations and effectively managed rescue, shelter management, relief, restoration and rehabilitation issues in different regions. He has also been instrumental in fostering sensitivity towards environment conservation in his districts, a case in point being the incredibly successful plastic-free and zero waste initiatives in Kanyakumari district. Ratnoo is also a great advocate for the poor and vulnerable communities, and uses his office to give a voice to the marginalized groups.
The topic of his presentation is “Community-Based Campaigns for Environment-related Behavior Change”. In his presentation, Ratnoo will provide insights into why and how a successful environmental campaign must focus on behavioral changes in everyday lives of the local communities in order to make any large-scale impact. He will present a case study of his own innovative community-based disaster management model set up in in a coastal village called Samiyarpettai, a model that has been internationally recognized byUNDP

Diyanat Ali is the founder and director of Great Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC). His love for sports, outdoors and adventure led him to found GHAC in 2008; the club has since grown to become one of the most active adventure clubs in India. Diyanat Ali is also a great proponent of experiential learning. His initiative, Centre for Experiential Learning and Outdoor Leadership (CELOL), is focused on promoting outdoor learning and leadership. Currently he is an outbound trainer and a motivational speaker. He is also the founder-director of Outlife, a professional training company specializing in adventure‐based learning and behavioral training for business professionals.

Diyanat will be talking about “Outdoor Survival Skills & Making of an Adventure Club”

M.B. Nirmal is a Chennai-based writer, trainer, humorist, trainer, environmentalist and social activist. He was an executive with the Indian Overseas Bank; Member, Coffee Board; and an Expert Advisor to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. In 1989, he founded Exnora International, a non-governmental, environmental service organization, by mobilizing and empowering local communities. The main focus of the organization remains to preserve the environment and prevent global warming; it does so by offering a number of services such as street cleaning, waste management through composting and recycling, as well as conducting training and sensitization programmes. Nirmal is also involved in various other causes, such as consumer advocacy, afforestation programmes, and rehabilitation of convicts. He has been recognized for his efforts and innovation in various fields by the CII, Tamil Nadu Government; the Ministry of Finance; and several other reputed institutions. He is also an established author, having written twelve books in English and Tamil on societal development and related themes.
The topic of Nirmal’s presentation is “effective waste management”. He will be sharing his invaluable insights on the waste management done in the Green-Award-winning Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore. He will also talk about the most effective and environment-friendly ways to manage waste at home.
While Tamilnadu Forest Department continues to lend its unwavering support to the afforestation and conservation efforts by CTC, Dr Irulandi, IFS, in particular stands out as one of the most environmentally-conscious public officials. He is the Ad. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Forestry Extension), and a firm proponent of social forestry, which espouses roping in local communities to plant and manage trees on barren lands. Dr Irulandi’s association with CTC Ainthinai, the sapling plantation initiative by the group, has continued to grow stronger each passing year. He lends his support at every sapling plantation and maintenance drive. He not only encourages but also actively participates and supports the conservation efforts by the group. The ever-reducing tree cover in the cities is an issue close to his heart, as is the need for public engagement to fight deforestation.

Dr. Irulandi will talk about the Role of Social Forestry in Environmental Amelioration

Orissa Balasubramani (wikipedia) is a Tamil writer, an engineer and a maritime researcher. He moved to Orissa in 1989, and has been involved in studying the history of the two regions since then. A graduate in Physics, he is also the director of an energy firm. One of his major research projects is identifying the turtle corridor on the southeast Indian coast of the Indo-Pacific region, through interdisciplinary ocean studies and ancient seafaring routes. Another major interest of his is marine transgression and regression on Tamil Nadu Coast, and how it has affected history, society and livelihoods. He also runs the Integrated Ocean Culture Research Foundation.
The topic of his presentation is ‘Human migration on turtle corridor’. In his presentation, he will be talking about the evidence of early seafarers identifying and taking the help of the routes taken by sea turtles for navigation. 
Abhjeet Barse is the CEO of the Slum Soccer, one of the projects run by the Nagpur-based NGO Krida Vikas Sanstha. Slum Soccer brings about a change in the lives of street dwellers by using the game of football. Apart from football coaching camps, Slum Soccer also helps organize educational and healthcare workshops, and societal development programs for street-dwelling communities. Since its inception in 2001, the organisation has managed to reach the lives of nearly 70,000 men, women and children in over 63 districts all around the country. Under Barse’s able guidance, several of Slum Soccer alumni have gone on to represent the country in Homeless World Cup
The topic of his presentation is “Kick for Change”. In his presentation, Abhijeet Barse will talk about the use of football as a tool to steer underprivileged children towards a better future with choices and possibilities. He will also talk about how Slum Soccer uses football to educate communities about issues such as social inclusion and gender concerns.

Sujan Bernard is a herpetologist, an environmentalist and a wildlife enthusiast. Based in Bangalore, he is actively involved in rescue and rehabilitation of snakes. Over the years, he has volunteered with the Bannerghatta Wildlife Rescue Centre (BWRC), worked as a research assistant for the king cobra breeding biology project with Agumbe Rain Forest Research Station (ARRS) and as an education Officer with the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) and TREE Foundation. He is a familiar face among the Chennaiites, having given talks and snake walks for CTC in the past. Currently he is a freelance environmental educationist, working closely withKālinga Centre for Rainforest Ecology, and a corporate trainer.
Sujan will give a talk & presentation on “Snake Species in South India. Identification, habitat and behavior” breaking some of the common myths around these wonderful animals which are an important part of the ecosystem.
Nagaraj Harsha is a 25‐year old triathlete and an Ironman based in Bangalore. He has completed multiple national and international triathlons, and is also one of the winners of Javadhu Ultra (2014) organized by CTC. From an out‐of‐shape non‐athlete in 2011 to a four-time Ironman finisher, Harsha’s journey is an inspirational tale come true. Ironman triathlons are a series of long‐distance races featuring swimming, cycling and running in tough conditions. Harsha began training for one of the triathlons as a way to distract himself from personal difficulties but soon discovered a whole new way of life, and in the process, his passion for endurance sports. Currently he works full‐time with Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore while training for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Nagaraj will be talking about “Tri Journey – Planning, Training and Racing.”
He will talk about how to plan for triathlons, what it requires to do the triathlons, helping people understand about trainng and how to execute the race.

TP7 Profiles Prepared by CTC’s Content Writing Wing:

 Kavya Sharma is an Editor at Oxford University Press India. Originally from Delhi, she moved to Chennai in 2014. Her interests include books, travel, nature, pop culture and non-profit initiatives. 

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