The way everything in nature evolves in its own time, so did my journey towards establishing Ecosphere Connect. Upon completion of a Master’s degree in Biodiversity from the Savitribai Phule University of Pune in 2010, I received the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) fellowship to study further at the University of Leeds. During my time at Leeds, I volunteered on the Urban Pollinators project. While observing butterflies drinking nectar from the Buddleja flowering bush, or bees on the elderberry plant hedge, or the colorful mixed flower patches buzzing with activity, I got my first exposure on the potential of gardens in supporting biodiversity in cities!
I was deeply disturbed by a shrinking green cover and the condition of existing green spaces in my home city, Pune. I started interacting with various citizens, landscape architects, friends, and peers, and it dawned upon me that there was a huge gap between available information and action on the ground. Many were not aware of the potential of their campuses, backyards, and balconies in supporting functional gardens, while those aware were struggling with where to begin. They were keen to grow organic food and would love to have butterflies and birds visit their gardens, but needed an initial helping hand.
My long term involvement with Udaan Biodiversity Park, a public park in Pune, as a consultant furthered my understanding of urban green spaces. I feel humbled that I could apply my plant knowledge and ecological understanding gained from years of fieldwork, to transform this landscaped 1.5-acre space into a thriving ecosystem and a nature education hub. The park receives a daily footfall of around 300 visitors and several birds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife call it their home.
Equipped with these enriching hands-on experiences, I founded Ecosphere Connect in 2018 to bridge the theory-to-action gap in creating biodiversity-friendly habitats. Through this green enterprise, I strive to provide end-to-end services to enable clients to transform their open spaces into productive, sustainable, and biodiverse ecosystems. Simultaneously, having experienced first-hand the power of engagement with citizens while managing a community farm at Udaan Biodiversity Park, I actively interact with groups and individuals to promote wildlife-friendly gardening practices.
In my leisure time, I love to experiment with local recipes using homegrown herbs and veggies, and practice mindfulness through Yoga and Vipassana. My mind can draw a semblance between ecology and yoga. In yoga, we are taught that there is a deep connection between the universe and all life around us. In nurturing a green patch and helping it to grow, I can witness the inter-connections in nature come alive and it makes me feel positive and humble. I hope to pass on this beautiful feeling through Ecosphere Connect.