Trek Polamaa VIII – Speaker Profiles

4, Bharathi Nagar, 
Thiruvanmiyur, 600041
Date: Feb 25-26, 11am-5pm
Ashok Daniel is an accomplished ultra-runner and has participated in ultra-trail events around the world ranging from 50 km – 105 miles. Earlier this year he became the youngest Indian to finish the Ultra-trail Du Mont Blanc (172km/10000m of ascent) in the French alps which is considered as one of the hardest 100 milers in the world. His hope is to change people’s beliefs about personal limitations and the power of the human spirit. He is the global ambassador of Unived Sports and WAA Ultra and an Intellectual property rights lawyer. Ashok completed the Hong Kong Ultra and The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail that runs through the picturesque Italian Dolomites to race through Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
Piyush Manush is a farmer, environmentalist, entrepreneur and social activist at Coop Forest. Along with few people in 2010, He formed the Salem Citizen’s Forum, a collective of urban citizens that engaged in people welfare activities. The Forum adopted the Mookaneri Lake, a 58-acre located at the foot of the Shevaroy hills, was conserved from massive pollution. He has also made contribution to revive water bodies like Ammapettai Lake, Kundukkal Lake, Ismailkhan Lake, Arisipalayam Pond and Pallappatti well. He opposed commercial mining in Kanjamalai hills and he stands against encroachments and land mafia. He created ‘Coop Forest’, an initiative for forest preservation, on a hilly terrain in Dharmapuri. He won the CNN-IBN Indian of the year 2015 award representing people.
Mala Honnatti – Everest Base Camp marathon (Sat 2pm)

Mala has run 20 full marathons and 2 ultra marathons across the world including the Everest Base Camp Marathon. Antarctica Marathon, Annapurna-50k and marathons in New York, Richmond, SanFrancisco, Sacremanto,  Macau ( China), Miyazaki ( Japan ). She is a prominent figure on Indian marathon circuit with several podium finishes and a hat-trick of gold medals at Mumbai marathon in the 50+ age group. She freelances to train aspirants for marathon and fitness. Regular treks and expeditions, and frequent marathons, have kept her physically robust all these years. 
Kiruba Shankar is an Entrepreneur, Professor, Author, Podcaster and importantly, a Farmer. During the week, he runs a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultancy and during the weekend, a 13-acre farm that’s transitioning into organic.Kiruba has been teaching for 16 years and is a Professor of Digital Marketing. He has taught at leading B-Schools. Kiruba looks forward to sharing the joy, disappointments, challenges and interesting experiences of starting and nurturing a farm from scratch. This is also the subject of a book he is currently authoring titled, ‘The Farm Fresh Life’ that is due for launch in March 2017. 
Dhiraj Bhaisare is a research administrator and wildlife ecologist from Agumbe Rainforest Research Station/ Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (ARRS/MCBT), who has several years of experience in field-based research work in the field of herpetology, birding, native plant species of western ghats, conservation. He has been involved in plenty of projects for the past 10 years starting from a field researcher to a research administrator in King Cobra Telemetry project, King cobra conservation, rescue and translocation, birds in general, lapwing study, wildlife study in rainforests, education and outreach. He joined ARRS in 2009 as a research associate and now his responsibility is to supervise the research projects and train interns.  He has worked with a lot of top-notch researchers and environmentalists like Romulus  Whitaker, Gowri Shankar, Ajay Giri. He has been awarded “The Disney Conservation Hero Award” in 2011 and “Herpetology Conservation Research Award” in 2012.
Showkath Jamal – Snakes in the South Indian Ecosystem (Sat 3pm)
Showkath Jamal is a seasoned entrepreneur and a free-spirited adventure lover with a wide range of interests, ranging from law to herpetology! His many years of association with the people of Kovalam, stretching from pre-tsunami to post-tsunami times, paved the way for setting up Bay of Life Surf School in the village of Kovalam. A certified WFR(Wilderness First Responder) from NOLS, USA, has worked under herpetologist Gowri Shankar at Agumbe and many other environmental organizations
Sangeetha Sriram is one of the co-founders of reStore, an organic store and have authored a book called ‘Pasumai Puratchiyin Kathai’ (The Story of Green Revolution). In her 12 years before starting reStore, Sangeetha was involved with various initiatives and movements on village self governance, waste management, environmental education, organic farming, youth education, alternative education for children, anti privatization of water, animal rights, engaged spirituality and so on, seeing the interconnections of them all. Currently also member of Ritambhara, which sees the larger political, socioeconomic, ecological, cultural crises as different manifestations of a spiritual crisis, and uses the framework of Yoga to enable an exploration of and development of the self and what it means to be a sacred activist. She is also involved in cross pollinating, networking and building meta-movements building synergies towards co-creating the New World.   
Dr D. Naramsimhan – Restoring our City with its Green cover (Sun 11am)

Dr. D. Narasimhan is a professor and head of the department in Madras Christian College at the Department of Botany. He is well versed in Trees and he has guided so many projects for urban afforestation like Adyar poonga and conservation of ecological heritage and sacred sites. He also did research works at Theosophical Society. He started the ‘Tree census’ project ( few years back) in Chennai city. Currently, he is working on a project on ‘Mapping and Population studies of selected Endemic Trees of Southern Western Ghats’. He has done extensive research on the flora of tropical dry evergreen forests and southern western ghats as well as medicinal plant markets of Tamil Nadu and ethnobotany of Eastern ghats for the past 20 years. At present we have lost most of our green cover, and his talk would be about restoring the city’s green cover. 

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