Meet WCN Scholar Pooja Choksi
Pooja’s love for the outdoors began with her mother. Her childhood holidays involved the two of them going on camping trips to the hills, hiking through the forests, or simply vising the forests where they would listen and observe the wonders of the outdoors. It was her mother who also introduced her to her first safari to a tiger reserve in pursuit of the elusive tiger, therefore starting a love affair that would continue well past her formative years. In her early twenties, Pooja visited the amazon and saw firsthand the level of destruction wrought by human hands on the once bountiful ecosystem. This experience proved to be a turning point for her and cemented her decision to take up wildlife and habitat conservation as a career, and to focus her efforts on reviving (in her mind) the most beautiful of species – the tiger.
She joined the Conservation Wildlands Trust in the Pench Tiger Reserve in India, where she worked as a program manager of the environmental education division, directing and running a three-year curriculum that was eventually expanded to schools outside the reserve area. She also assisted with the alternative livelihoods program of Conservation Wildlands Trust to learn more about the latest and most innovative solutions to human-tiger conflict in the landscape. With her Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry, she will return to India where she will then expand her conflict resolution skills to a regional scale. With an upbeat, sunny attitude, there’s no doubt that Pooja will manage to continue to educate a wide variety of people, and achieve any other goals she has in mind.