What is it like to be a Green Trails Intern?

So you want to be a Green Trails intern but not sure what it’s about? This article is just for you. Here is a brief of what Green Trails is, what we do, our main focus areas and the role of an intern. Dive in!

What, Why and How?
To understand what is Green Trails, why we need it and how we do it, click here.

What is a Green Trails internship?
A Green Trails internship is a way to explore our Green Trails work.  You get to learn about it first-hand.  Following that, you get to make your contribution towards our mission to the mountains.  It’s a 30 day program.  Based on your performance during the first 30 days, the next 15 days will be extended.  As a Green Trails intern, you oversee present Green Trails activities along the trek you work on.  In addition you take up a project in one of our main focus areas.  

What it is not?
It’s not picking litter in mountains even though you will be participating in clean-up activities. It’s not an always “on trek” program as well.  You get to do the trek once for sure. You may not get another opportunity to do the trek during your internship.

Why be a Green Trails intern?
Being a Green Trails intern is very challenging.  It is also
very rewarding. I am CHALLENGINGnot exaggerating when I say that our interns claim this as one of the most rewarding experiences they’ve had. Tackling challenging situations and making an impact brings about a lot of gratification.  Believe me, because, I started out as an intern.  My personal experience as an intern is what that motivated me to give up a career in a big corporate company and pursue this.

It’s very hard to come by opportunities where you run the whole show, addressing problems at the grass root level creating a huge impact along the way.  In a way, it’s your own pet project.  That gives you a lot of freedom.  This is an intense training program with lots to learn.  You can sharpen your social skills, management skills and communication skills. Needless to say, you get to work on the most beautiful slopes of the Himalayas, to live with local people and experience their culture.

Whom are we looking for?
Are you conscientious about the environment? Do you think the mountains require our active protection? If you think that you can work towards these causes, this internship is for you.

Whom are we NOT looking for?
Those who are simply excited by the mountains and want to spend time there. This role is not easy and requires a lot of research and development. It also requires a lot of thought and plain hard work. It is not going to be akin to a vacation in the mountains.

Read this blog written by an intern to get an idea of what the role is like.

Now that you have an overview about Green Trails, here are the main areas that you focus on during your internship with us.

Our focus areas

New technology and innovations

Organized trekking as an activity has grown drastically.  However, practices followed by several trekking companies are still primitive. To give you some examples, many bury organic waste, burn wood for heat or cooking, wash dishes by streams using chemical cleaners and some even bury inorganic waste! These practices have become so rooted that we hardly stop to question them. 

Ten years ago, with 1 or 2 groups trekking in a season on a trek route, human waste was not a problem. However, now with around 40 groups per organization and around 5-6 such organizations operating at the same time, imagine the minefield at a campsite. Similar is the case with burning wood for heat or cooking.

At present, we are throwing more at nature than it can take. We need to think of new ways to trek so that both nature and man can co-exist. This is where you come in.

We are currently involved in several experiments. We also have more innovations in mind. Some of them are:

  • A Bio-digester system to generate bio-gas from organic waste, which in turn can be used for heating and cooking purposes,
  • Rain water harvesting systems at places where water is hard to come by,
  • Better toilet designs than a simple toilet pit,
  • Solar energy for power, heating and cooking,

Challenge: Most of these technologies already exist. Now the challenge is to keep it simple. You need to make them work in difficult terrain in a very difficult environment.  

Who are we looking for?  We are looking for curious hands-on minds, who can think outside the box and come up with new ideas to tackle problems. You lead experiments at a particular slope independently. You must be able to acquire a deep understanding of the topic you will be working on. Possessing a scientific/engineering background is an advantage.

Social ventures 

The main problem in dealing with waste in mountains is (1) collecting the waste and, (2) disposing them properly.  I say this because mountains don’t have the facility to regularly collect or discard waste. Even if they do, they don’t have sanitary landfills to properly dispose them. Even if we do take the waste to landfills, is it the right solution? Well, no! Waste is not waste if we segregate. So we segregate waste, diverting things that can be reused or utilized for higher purposes.  By doing so, the amount of waste reaching landfills is drastically reduced.

Is there more that we can do? Yes! We are now making pillows out of plastic waste, maps out of paper waste. Now, the challenge is, can we start local set-ups with people from local villages to take these ideas forward. Can we make it a profitable social enterprise? This is where you come in.

We want you to introduce these ventures at our treks.

Challenge: You have to work with villagers, recruit them, train them and establish the whole set-up. It’s not an easy task.

Who are we looking for?  If social entrepreneurship interests you, what better way to take an idea forward?

Innovations to regular practice

Any new idea invites resistance. Not only that, it requires lot of tweaking to make it work in different scenarios. Same goes for all innovations that we want to put in place. This is where you come in. As a green trails intern you are expected to take innovations that work experimentally and make it function at the slopes. You must make it a systematic process that everyone follows.  

Challenge: Our slopes offer lot of variability in environment, weather, people, etc.  You need to address all challenges.  You must make the idea work.

Who are we looking for? We are looking for people who persist, who can tinker with ideas, who can train people, convince them to adopt new practices.

 

What does the internship include?

We provide food and accommodation during the 30 days and Rs.2500 stipend per week. However, the trip to mountains and back is on you.

How should you apply for the internship?

Send an email to lakshmi@indiahikes.in and a questionnaire will be sent to you.  Fill the details in and send it back. You will receive a call for a Skype interview if you are selected for the next round. Following the interview, you will be notified with further details.

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Lakshmi Selvakumaran

Lakshmi Selvakumaran

Lakshmi Selvakumaran is the Green Trails Coordinator at Indiahikes. She holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. She's currently working towards making trekking a more sustainable sport by bringing in fresh innovations and ideas that leave no carbon footprint in the mountains.

8 thoughts on “What is it like to be a Green Trails Intern?

  1. Really a great initiative taken by your team to save the environment. This type of awareness is very much required in the people. I am also interested in your Green Trail Intern but I don’t know the trekking. It is also my field of interest to do something that can save the environment. So is it there any chance for me to join this programme?

  2. Hi there! I am just `17 years old and will be turning 18 in February 2017. As this page doesn’t say much about the age limit or things of similar sort, I wanted to know if it was possible for me to join in as a Green Trail Intern.
    Also I am in my first year of getting a degree and the page says I must have a degree from some university or experience on working with environmental issues. Though at the moment I have neither, one due to my age and the other due to unknown reasons, I would really like to contribute as much as i can to help make the trails better.
    I have some experience in mountaineering, I have done three treks in the Himalayas so far. Kuari Pass (14,000 ft.), Kyarkoti Lake in Taknaur Valley and Roopkund (15,750 ft.) (with India hikes).
    So I would like to know if i could be associated with India Hikes?

  3. hi India Hikes ,
    I was interested in taking hikes to kedarkantha , that is when i came across “Treks with SWATHI” and INDIA HIKES.
    The kind of effort that you all are taking to keep the slopes clean is mind blowing.
    I being a supporter of sustainable living was inspired to join the green trails internship , but I am facing a problem which I hope you can help to solve.
    Currently I am pursuing C.A. and therefore can only attend to the internship after my exams in November, so I wanted to ask whether I could join the intership after November.
    longing to be a part of INDIA HIKES
    Gautam Shenoy

    1. Hi Niki you can choose your internship dates, provided they suit our requirements as well. The dates are flexible and you can discuss it with your mentor.

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