Meet Farida Tampal, State Director, WWF-India, working relentlessly towards environment conservation

May 16, 2022, 11 a.m.

By: Reshma Jain

We have only one living planet, unfortunately it is in a critical stage. We have been facing its dire consequences with a ‘do or die’ situation. Don’t we all think that we need to mend our relationship with nature? We need to become conscious of each and every step we take so that we can study the impact on the environment. Socio Story brings the story of Farida Tampal, State Director, WWF India.

Hailing from Mumbai, Farida Tampal pursued her Masters in Ecology from Pondicherry Central University. While she was brought up in Mumbai, she lived right next to the Borivali National Park. All picnics in the school holidays were either in the National Park or by the Beach. “It was such fun to be out in the open. Closed areas are claustrophobic for me. As a researcher, I worked at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust in Mahabalipuram and there too my room had large windows and barely any walls. I love the outdoors,” shared 52-year-old Farida. 

She further said, “My school too had a beautiful Rose Garden and we also got a small patch of land to grow vegetables as part of work experience. These all have had an impact on my leaning towards nature studies. During my B Sc days, I was actively involved with the WWF as a Nature Club member. Learning and studying nature gave me a big high and I literally lived in the National Park with my other Nature Club members.”

Farida grew up as a Nature Club Student with WWF India. She started her journey with the organisation in 1984 and is still going strong as an employee. She worked in the West Bengal Office of WWF India but due to some personal challenges, she shifted to Hyderabad. “I was fortunate that our Secretary General and CEO gave me an opportunity to lead the Office and today we work for both AP & Telangana,” she reminisced.

She has worked in diverse landscapes and different sections of the community. She has interacted with the Academia, Scientists, People's Representatives, Policy makers, film fraternity to school and college students in rural and urban areas and also with communities in forest areas. Each interaction has left her richer, exclaimed Farida.

Farida shared a few initiatives taken by her. It includes Biodiversity studies in AP & Telangana for the discovery of new species in the State, promoting plantation through Nature Club and sowing the seeds of nature conservation in young minds. Farida was instrumental in starting the first amateur Naturalist Training programme for people wanting to be associated with nature conservation including Doctors, Lawyers, CAs, Homemakers, students etc.

She has also trained All India Services Officers, Forest Officers and other Govt Department Officers on nature, environment and climate change. She was also behind initiating the first solar deep-well pumping system for providing water for wildlife and local base camp staff in the Tiger Reserve. This was the prototype for the country and today most forest areas in the country have taken it up. The pump has provided water for wild animals, helped raised fodder grass, help douse forest fires etc.

Every individual action counts. It's time for retrospection and introspection. Everyone has to evaluate the way we live and what we consume and how we can minimize it. There are so many solutions, options and alternatives. At the same time, we need to be aware of how those who do not have access to resources are not left out due to our actions. 

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