Nikkitha Terasa (she/her)Nature Educator and Naturalist, Palluyir Trust for Nature Education and Research
- 30 Under 30
Nikkitha is a young nature educator introducing both children and adults to the wonders of nature, fostering a deep connection between them and their local landscape.
India, Age 21
How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities? Tell us about your EE work and impact.
I am passionate about working with children and I always seek to work at the interface of ecological and social justice. Currently, I work with an amazing team at Palluyir Trust for Nature Education and Research, where I have been a part of creating a wide range of nature education material for various age groups (which can be explored here). Thousands of copies of these are in circulation in India and have brought numerous children and adults to connect with and care for their nearby natural world. We actively follow the ‘Action Pedagogy’ that we’ve developed, whose pillars are direct participation, local relevance, and interconnectedness, all of which are important in building a more sustainable future. I have always been intrigued by various alternative pedagogies that exist, but in my country, most people cannot afford them. I feel nature-based learning could change that and I want to be a part of that change. If you are interested, you can get to know more about my work and its impact in a short documentary, available for viewing here.
Tell us about your journey to where you are today. What inspired you? What has your path been like?
My journey as an educator started 4 years ago when I volunteered to teach at a school after my college hours. Since then, I have been teaching children a diverse range of topics and skills, such as genetics, waste segregation, building their own microscopes, and even growing their own food. The way I teach and what I teach took a transformative turn when I was introduced to nature-based learning a couple of years back during an internship facilitated by Yuvan Aves through Madras Naturalists’ Society. I later joined Palluyir Trust and have gotten the opportunity to interact with people of all ages, especially from vulnerable communities. I share whatever I’ve learned thus far and instill in them a sense of curiosity and wonder about the natural world. I learn something new every other day and I have a long way to go!
A Little More About Me
Who (or what) do you look up to as inspiration
I am inspired every day by my colleagues at Palluyir Trust, each possessing their own unique qualities.
If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?
Definitely an insect. Probably a dragonfly because I get very excited every time I see them.
What’s a passion project of yours outside of your work?
Right now, my passion project outside of my work is to make a crochet dress for myself!
Do you prefer sunrise, sunset, midday, or midnight?
Sunsets and sunrise by the beach are the best. Middays in Chennai are very hot!