Remembering how we began
Updated: Mar 26
Today, amidst all the chaos, take a moment with us to mark the Foundation Day of Ecological Society. Ecological Society was founded in 1982, and is 38 years old today.
As we solemnly revel about the foundation of our mothership, we see with even more clarity the need to understand man’s relationship with nature, the interdependences, and the immense need for sustainable development.
A pre-cursor to the year-long course at Ecological Society were the series of workshops that our founder Professor Prakash Gole conducted for engineers of the Maharashtra irrigation department. For 10 years, he taught the engineers “Ecological Management of dam, catchment and command area”, in which he was joined by S.D Mahajan, and occasionally Dr Swati Gole (his wife).
Very soon, Gole sir realised the need to take the ecological thought to the masses, and the course Sustainable Management of Natural Resources & Nature Conservation was born. It began with a handful of people as an experiment in 1999, and has continued since. Gole ma’am, also a founder member and the chairperson of ES, shares that it took time for people to know of the existence of the course. But now, there is always a waiting list at the time of admissions each year.
The course was designed by Prof. Prakash Gole, and taught mainly by him. Some parts were taught by Mahajan sir, and some by Gole ma’am. Guest lecturers were added slowly. Currently, the course is very dynamic, and is taught by the vibrant team of Ajay Phatak, Gurudas Nulkar, Ketaki Ghate, Manasi Karandikar, and of course Gole ma’am. There are multiple guest lectures too. Suhas Sapatnekar is the constant presence in all ES projects and the course. The course has also become vibrant because of the diverse backgrounds of the students.
Ecological Society has had the honour of having many distinguished trustees on its board, like
I.C.S Laxman Rajwade – former Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, architect of Navi Mumbai,
Vice Admiral Manohar Auti – recipient of the Vir Chakra in the Indo-Pak war,
Mr Keskar - Director Town Planning Government of Maharashtra,
Mr Jayant S. Tilak, Chairman Legislative Council of Maharashtra.
Dr Farrokh Wadia - Director, Department of Medicine, KEM Hospital, Pune
Shri Vishwas Sawarkar - former Director of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, advisor to GOI on wildlife, key member Project Tiger
While imparting ecological education is critical for creating a sustainable society, it is equally important to participate in the creation of knowledge in this field. For this reason, ES has always tried to work on experiments and research and implementation projects, which contribute towards a new learning in this field.
We have been involved in projects like Ecological Guidelines for Riverfront Development of Mula-Mutha rivers, Ecological management of Pashan Lake, Floral diversity improvement plan for Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Assessment of Panshet dam catchment, Ujani Reservoir Project, and so many more. Read about them here: https://www.ecological-society.com/our-projects
The heart of the matter is that we now need to take the thought of sustainable development to an even wider audience. The imbalance that we have caused needs to be fixed by steady, informed and just actions. Gole ma’am urges that we must truly understand nature.
She pumps some positivity into us (while reminding us of social distancing), “Let this new year, beginning with Gudhi Padwa, bring new hope to all of us!”