Exactly two years ago, the JLR Explore team gave shape to an idea: to collate stories of nature from Karnataka. The idea, though simple, was daunting – fostering a community of nature lovers, which continues to grow, is no mean task, especially because we had to seek out contributors who were willing to pen down their experiences or share their research. Thanks to unprecedented support in these two years, we have gone beyond the goals we had set for ourselves, and more importantly, we’ve knit together a great family of story-tellers and nature-lovers – your stories now feed our community!
Nature photographers are currently faced with a creativity slump, where image predictability and viewers’ lethargy have slackened shooting. It now takes an effort for an image to move out from the hard-disk to a social media forum, whereas a few years ago, the opposite was true. Storytelling is the new buzzword and thankfully, we have a head-start. At a time when tigers held sway over our country’s imagination, JLR Explore tried to weave stories where crabs and tamarind groves took center-stage. Our team focused on showcasing lesser-known natural entities, equally worthy of the spotlight, if not more.
JLR Explore’s formal launch and inauguration, in 2013.
In an age where Google analytics is viewed as an indicator of effort and success, we have consciously stayed beyond the volume game, steering clear of the cauldron of clicks, likes and shares out-competing each other. A sapling of just two years, JLR Explore intends to grow like a tree, organically, with our focus solely on sustaining community engagement.
We have become the mouthpiece of the conservation community. Citizen-science initiatives on conservation have widened; earlier, the domain was only restricted to birding records. Scientists now offer a range of tools on JLR Explore, for the hobbyist, right from frog calls’ identification to online apps. With Bangalore being India’s wildlife pulse, hosting a thriving annual calendar of events related to nature and wildlife photography, JLR Explore is looked up to as a template and benchmark for young writers and photographers.
My team of Karthikeyan S, Radha Rangarajan and Raji Sunderkrishnan are not just efficient team-mates, but great human beings. They hold the fort together with multiple e-mails, proof checks, and spend late hours editing. With my calling with the front-line staff of the Forest Department taking more of my time, they slip in easily and handle the smooth running of JLR Explore, to ensure that the stories reach you on time.
Our team thanks the community for rallying behind us and continuing to support us with diverse, hard-hitting and heart-warming stories, which often take us by surprise even in this over-fed internet age.