Dehradun: With an aim to impart skills for job in environment conservation, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) announced initiation of a special training for people interested in receiving education related to wildlife. A meeting was held at WII on Thursday wherein people from all walks of life from across the country participated to learn the skills required for bird identification, especially migratory birds of India. The programme is being conducted under the aegis of the Union environment ministry. Over 500 people showed keen interest to participate in the “Green Skill Development Programme” (GSDP) course which started on Thursday and will continue for a fortnight at WII. The programme witnessed participation from Ladakh, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Mizoram, and Maharashtra. These participants will be taught “Bird Identification” and “Basic Ornithology”, so that they can become self-dependent and create employment opportunities. “In our eco-system, everything is inter-dependent and wildlife is directly linked to nature. Hence, we are trying to look at each possible segment through which we can provide knowledge and increase opportunities of jobs for the country’s youth,” said Dhananjai Mohan, WII director. The institute has commenced the project especially for the people residing in and around protected areas so they can contribute to forest and wildlife conservation. “The Environment Information System (ENVIS) Centre at Wildlife Institute of India has taken the initiative to start an academic course in nature interpretation for rural youth in protected areas to enable them to become nature guides. These people are emotionally connected to their areas and hence, we prefer to educate them and impart skills among them to create a win-win situation,” said K Sivakumar, senior scientist and ENVIS Coordinator at WII. Prior to this programme, three more courses have been held in different places of India under ENVIS. The first such course was started in Manas Tiger Reserve, Assam, followed by a course on “Nature Conservation and Livelihood: River Based Ganga Prahari” in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh and a Certificate Course in “Nature Interpretation for Large Zoos and Safari Parks: Zoo Guide Training Programme” in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. “India is the second most populated country in the world and there exists a demand-supply gap of skill sets (both cognitive and practical) at various levels in environment/forest sector in India. “Green skills are crucial for cleaner and greener production and service patterns. It prepares people for green jobs that contribute to preserving and restoring environment while simultaneously improving social equity and enhancing quality of life,” added Sivakumar.