Holématthi Nature Information Centre
An interactive space for learning, education, and awareness, nestled among the hills.
Holématthi Nature Information Centre (NIC) is the first-of-its-kind rural learning centre, established in July 2018 to serve as a training centre, and to host conservation awareness programmes.
This centre aims to impart wildlife and conservation awareness to communities living near forested areas. Our primary audience comprises local residents, students from local schools and colleges, teachers, leaders, representatives of local governing bodies, media personnel from the region and the forest department staff.
Located at the edge of the Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary (MM Hills WS) over an area of one acre, NIC uses interactive art, visual imagery and storytelling to inspire appreciation and awareness among the locals for the rich biodiversity that surrounds them. The centre was developed to make scientific research accessible to everyone, in collaboration with researchers, artists, naturalists and educators, and is a thoughtfully designed space, with every corner highlighting different features of the landscape.
Sessions at the NIC are designed with a focus on imparting awareness that sustainable co-existence can be achieved between forest-fringe communities and wildlife if threats to wildlife can be minimised through provision of alternatives, conservation awareness and public-engagement. Interactive activities are designed to impart conservation awareness and wildlife education to ensure a holistic and sustained approach to conservation, to bring a shift in people's perceptions, and to instil a sense of ownership and responsibility for their land and its preservation.
Since 2018, Holématthi has hosted over 9,000 visitors including close to 5,000 students. A conservation initiative can be considered truly successful if it can be adapted and replicated across changing landscapes and situations. The rural centre has been a huge success in making knowledge about wildlife accessible to among local communities, and to build upon the effort, we have helped the Forest Department set up a similar centre near Kali Tiger Reserve, and are currently working with an organization to set up a centre to promote conservation in Sunderbans in Bangaldesh.