Published: 22nd May 2022
YouCAN's Earth Educator Fellowship is your chance to ignite love for nature in yourself and others
The last date to apply is today, May 22, and the fellowship commences on June 5, 2022 and ends on April 24, 2023. So, are you ready to take on the challenge?
At the very outset, let's begin with some worrying facts. Because we, as citizens of planet Earth, literally have no time to waste.
Over 3.2 billion people around the globe are affected by the impact of land degradation. Two-thirds of the world's population already experiences water scarcity.
"Earth is facing a triple planetary crisis: Climate disruption, nature and biodiversity loss plus, pollution and waste," informs Rachita Sinha, an educator. In fact, the United Nations has decreed 2021-2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
But why are we unloading these facts on you and with such urgency? Because Youth Conservation Action Network (YouCAN), an initiative that conducts programmes for youngsters and students so that they can learn to be environmentalists, is back with its Earth Educator Fellowship. And the deadline to apply for it is Sunday, May 29!
So, if you are a youngster (between 18-35 years) and if the aforementioned facts reiterated in you the urgency with which nature needs our immediate attention then this 11-month fellowship is made for you. "Through this initiative, we want the next generation of children to be more connected to nature via experiential guidance that we will offer and understand the importance of this alarming period," says Rachita Sinha, Co-Founder, YouCAN.
What to expect
There is a need to drive home these facts with a sense of urgency and who better than those who are educating or those who hope to educate others about the cause? Whether as teachers or activists who spread awareness in several other ways.
So, what's the agenda of the fellowship? Rachita rightfully calls it both "simple and yet complicated". A certain readiness is built in the participants through the curriculum which involves self-awareness and being aware of society. It also includes, exploring natural history and conservation plus manifesting Earth education. All of this is achieved via writing, listening, reflective talks, films, photo-documentation, lectures and learning sessions, mentoring and many other myriad and mysterious ways.
The search is on for 20 Earth Educators who are willing to commit 20 hours a week to undertake educational sessions in schools and communities four times a week. It also involves two residential workshops in Conoor, where YouCAN is located. You'll be in good hands with wildlife and conservation filmmaker Shekar Dattatri; Educator Noan Fesnoux, who is Lead Course Designer and Developer Green School, Bali and several other nature lovers who will be addressing you on various topics.
"We have stories of people who changed their careers because of this fellowship. I especially remember one instance where a child hailing from a community of hunters, who had participated in one of our programmes, requested his parents to stop hunting," recollects Rachita who co-founded YouCAN with K Ramnath Chandrasekhar in 2018.
While they organise many short-term programmes including walks but Earth Educators and Earth Authors, that invites children between 8-11 years for a mentoring programme, and Earth Educators are their long-term programmes. After applying for the same, a video interview round follows.
Though the fellowship programme's cost comes up to Rs 1.5 lakh, they do offer 100 per cent merit-based scholarships, thanks to the funding support of the National Geographic Society.
So, why should someone apply? "Indians mostly tend to pick up conventional careers and are not aware of the possibilities of green education. This is the venture you should apply for if you need any insights, guidance or experts in order to build a career in wildlife spaces. Whether selected or not, the organisation will be with you throughout this journey," says Rachita and concludes.
Visit youcan.in to apply for the Earth Educators Fellowship.