The Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI) conference is underway at the Maharaja Saiyajirao University in Vadodara—commonly referred to as the cultural capital of Gujarat. The four-day conference, commencing on the 22nd of January and concluding on the 25th of January, 2018, gives early career ecologists an opportunity to interact with like-minded students from across the country to exchange ideas and collaborate.
In 2008, the need for networking and shared learning among the young ecologists in Bengaluru led to the creation of Students Meet in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Science (SMEECS). In 2009, the need for such a space through the country led to SMEECS being rechristened as YETI, and students from all over the country were invited to join the newly created online forum. Today, YETI provides an ideal platform for students, researchers, citizen scientists and hobbyists from across the country to discuss important issues related to conservation, nature and ecology.
The YETI is a first of its kind conference in India that is entirely organized by student volunteers for the students of ecology from all over the country. This year’s conference will boast of a range of activities to facilitate discussion among students, these include web seminars, poster presentations, panel discussions, workshop and plenary talks. The event includes both long and short workshops, conducted by leading experts in the field. The long workshops lasting around 3 hours long or more covers a range from topics like “The web of design: Untangling complexities of research design for ecological studies” conducted by Dr. Upamanyu Hore & Dr. Sabysachi Dasgupta, and “Crafting a story from a scientific study” conducted by Sandhya Sekar. While the short workshops will also be held on varied topics like “Writing Grants in Ecological Sciences” conducted by Dr. Sabuj Bhattacharyya, Ms. Monica Kaushik and “Scripts for data acquisition with paper-based surveys” conducted by Nishadh.K A & Powsiya H.
The students at the conference will benefit from interaction with researchers, scientists, science communicators and peers working in the field of ecology, helping them understand the work that different institutions are carrying out around the country. While students with interests outside academia will have an opportunity of interacting with people varied walks of life, this list includes but is not limited to Sofia Ashraf, Indian rapper, who has over 4 million views on YouTube for her song “Kodaikanal wont” and Saurabh Sawant, wildlife photographer.
This year marks the 10th edition of the conference. Apart from the annual conference, students interested in ecology can also access the YETI mailing list which provides periodical updates on internship, job and research opportunities in the field of ecology.