Young Naturalist Award
Nature lover, guide and future leader
Just thirteen years old, Jyoti Sharma conducts nature trails for students from the locality and is uniting children and adults for nature.
Just 13 years old, Jyoti Sharma is breaking barriers and setting new horizons for young girls and boys everywhere. This spunky teenager is an eighth grade student from JSM Public School, Sawai Madhopur. But don’t be fooled by her 1.2 m. frame – her deep understanding and knowledge of Ranthambore’s flora and fauna can give your average naturalist a run for his or her money.
A Kids for Tigers student, Jyoti has been an active participant of nature trails conducted by the programme coordinator Goverdhan Meena. Charmed by what the natural world has on offer in her glorious part of the world, she rapidly learnt all about the plants and animals regularly spotted along these trails. So fierce was her dedication, that in no time Jyoti took charge, leading students from her school into the fascinating world of nature. From assisting Goverdhan Meena to coordinating nature trails, Jyoti has become a local favourite. With her principal’s support, she now conducts trails for other schools from the locality, some of which see attendance by teachers as well. With this, Jyoti has casually accomplished the feat of uniting children and adults over and for nature, a task that most conservationists struggle with for years!
A budding playwright, our youngest naturalist of the year also writes plays on conservation issues. The storehouse of talent that she is, she has won accolades for her oratory and writing skills. We await the day when Jyoti Sharma will stand at the frontline of conservation in India, but even now, we stand in awe of the charisma, knowledge and grit of this young gun.
And for this, we honour her.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVII No. 12, December 2017