SPROUTS (Est. 1995) is a Mumbai-based Environmental Consulting and Eco-tourism company established in 1995 by renowned Wildlife Biologist and Conservationist, Anand Pendharkar. It has been working with people from various parts of the world towards popularizing outdoors and experiencing Nature at its best, while focusing on wildlife conservation. SPROUTS regularly organizes camps, nature trails, treks to various National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, farms, lakes and even zoos, which it considers to be very important centres of ex-situ conservation via captive breeding, research and education. SPROUTS has over the last 25yrs undertaken Biodiversity Research initiatives such as the Northern Western Ghats Conservation Project (NWGCP), Mumbai Biodiversity Project (MBP) and Marine Documentation Project. SPROUTS believes in engaging members of the society in loving, protecting, studying and multiplying the abundant resources the Earth has to offer. We also focus on responsible lifestyle activities, including sustainable eco-tourism, production and promotion of eco-friendly products and volunteer-based actions towards wildlife conservation!
Anand Pendharkar - Founder & CEO
Anand Pendharkar is an Ecologist, Social Entrepreneur, Author, Motivational Speaker, Certified International Zoo Educator, Professional Teacher Trainer, and Visiting Faculty. He has an M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology and headed the Environmental Sciences (EVS) Department in the prestigious The Doon School (Dehradun). He regularly contributes to newspapers and travel magazines as a columnist, and has published over 650 popular and scientific articles. Way back in 2000 he had designed India’s first Environment Management course for MBAs. In 1995 he established the well-known eco-tourism & consulting company SPROUTS and is its CEO. SPROUTS is conducting different projects like butterfly gardens, terrace farms, documenting biodiversity as well as camps & treks for schools, colleges, housing colonies & villages. He is also the Founder and Director of the associated Conservation NGO - SPROUTS Environment Trust (established in 2002).
Anand is also a TEDx Speaker, Trekker, Activist, and explorer. He has travelled the length and breadth of India and documented its immense biodiversity He has also climbed high up on Nandadevi (2nd Highest Indian Peak) and Trishul (3rd highest Indian Peak) besides cycling from Goa to Mumbai or Walking from Manali to Leh and many more adventures. In 2018, he co-authored a travel book, titled ‘The Other Mahabaleshwar and ‘Climate Actioneers’ Primer: A Beginners Toolkit’ in 2023, which is the first book, of the 7 Climate Action Book Series. He has also recently completed the 1st batch of the School of Western Ghats, a train the trainer course to create warriors for the Western Ghats.
Rahul Gaikwad - Director (Projects)
Rahul Gaikwad is an accomplished Human Resources (HR) specialist with a robust background in the mechanical and industrial engineering sector. He brings a wealth of expertise in navigating the intricacies of HR functions. He is a dedicated professional committed to driving organisational success through strategic HR management. His foundation in Human Resource and Industrial Relations, cultivated through a Master's degree, positions him as a strong advocate for effective workforce management, organisational and project development. Rahul is also passionate about nature, fitness, outdoors, and youth empowerment through educational and employment opportunities.
Rahul Palekar - Programme Manager
Rahul Palekar is an MBA graduate from the University of Exeter, UK. He is passionate about Carbon Footprinting, Nature Education and Sustainability Training. He completed the yearlong Eco-Leadership Internship with SPROUTS Environment Trust in 2020 and has been associated with the Organisation ever since. He has been a part of Green Audits and Restoration Projects as well as in the designing and dissemination of Nature IEC material. In the past, he has also worked in the defence sector as an Engineer. His other interests include going for beach walks, reading about the history of the Mumbai islands, reading about Dinosaurs, poetry writing, and watching Cricket.
ASSOCIATES AND VOLUNTEERS
Arundhati Mhatre - Knowledge Associate
On finding a deep connection with nature, Arundhati Mhatre shifted from being a Software Engineer to following her passion as a Steiner Educator. As a Social Entrepreneur, she is managing her homegrown initiative, Arenya (www.arenya.in). Through her organisation, Arundhati guides people to install eco-friendly bird feeders and shelters in urban spaces. Thus, inviting birds to their residences. Through her decade-long journey as a Nature Educator, Arundhati has enlightened school students and adults about trees, birds, and butterflies. She conducts workshops on 'Following a Sustainable Lifestyle' by growing one's own vegetables and herbs, making Multani Mud bathing soaps and tooth powders. Through her Tree Walks, Arundhati connects her audiences to the Cacao tree, taking them from the tree and its seeds to a chocolate bar! She also leads Seed Jewelery making Workshops. Arundhati believes in walking the talk and dreams of living in tune with nature in her mud house, bathing with mud soaps and growing wild flowers and fruits, on her small piece of land!
Siddharth Waradkar - Volunteer
Siddharth Waradkar has completed his graduation in Zoology and currently working as a Freelancer. He was a former intern at SPROUTS, and has 5 years of experience with teaching the underprivileged and in NGO sectors. He has lead many Sustainable events for International Clients and even worked for Corporates. He has been a part of research projects and assisted Mr. Anand Pendharkar in various projects. Siddharth has explored the jungles of Western Ghats and his love for nature developed through photography. Starting from his first encounter with a Indian Cobra in his backyard, it's been an endless journey.
Amruta Padgaonkar - Volunteer
Amruta Padgaonkar has a deep passion for exploration - especially in nature and food. Her journey into the natural world began during childhood, fostering her interest in birdwatching. Alongside her academic pursuits, earning a Bachelor's degree in Zoology and a Master's degree in Life Science (Biochemistry), she dedicated six years to working as a Nature Educator at SPROUTS. Amruta also volunteered her time to educate underprivileged individuals of all ages through nature trails, workshops, and clean-up drives. She takes pride in her collection of owl-themed items, reflecting her love for these birds. With her current role at Early Bird,Nature Conservation Foundation (Bangalore), she hopes her passion for birds & working to popularise them, comes full circle!
Pranav Bhagwat - Volunteer
Pranav Bhagwat is a Food Science Professional, who has been volunteering with SPROUTS since 2019. He did his Bachelors degree in Zoology, followed by a Masters in Nutraceuticals (Food Science). Since an early age, Pranav has been a nature enthusiast and is specially fascinated by insects and snakes. He also enjoys forest restoration projects. Pranav's key hobbies are gardening, animal keeping, photography, chess, and artwork. Since the last 10 years, he has been a cat parent.
Chaitanya Sakhalkar - Volunteer
Chaitanya Sakhalkar is a Life Sciences graduate, currently pursuing Masters in Environmental Sciences. Since 2009, Chaitanya has actively volunteered with SPROUTS for their signature event the Earth Mela. Over the years, he has supported several of their projects, viz. Elect a New National Animal Campaign, Awaaz Bandh, and as a Green Team Member during the Mumbai Queer Pride March. Most recently, in 2023, he managed the SPROUTS Stall at SCCS, Bangalore. Additionally, he has participated in various nature camps and trails of SPROUTS to Ambolighat and Turtle Festival at Velas Village. Chaitanya is a passionate musician and also enjoys reading.