The Team

The SSTCN Team

V.Arun has been with SSTCN from 1997 and has been coordinator since 2002. Since the time he joined, his focus has been in reaching out to the public to involve the larger community in safeguarding the interests of the turtles. Towards this he holds discussions with various groups of people both on the walks and in schools, colleges etc

Arun qualified as an engineer and worked in the field for seven years. He then switched to teaching and worked as an Environment Education teacher in the Krishnamurti Foundation School, Chennai for 12 years.

Now he lives in Thiruvannamalai in an organic farm and manages an afforestation project and works with local children on environmental education projects.

Arun along with friends has been running a small farm based school since 2009.

Akila Balu has been with SSTCN since 2005 and is coordinator along with Arun. She is also involved in the afforestation and school programs in Tiruvannamalai.

She is qualified with an M Phil in economics and has taught in schools and colleges abroad for many years. She managed a music company for 3 years. She is a student of Shri.Lalgudi Jayaraman and has performed in various places. She has now chosen to work with environmental issues and social upliftment causes. She worked for a few years with WWF.

Akila, along with some family members and with CIKS (Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems) is also involved in a village upliftment program in Alangadu village near Sirkazhi.

Adhith got into turtle walks when as a student in The School, KFI, he got exposed to it. From the age of 11 he has been passionate about turtles and has spent most of his time associated with turtle related activities in one form or the other. He is a bit of a legend while on the field in locating tracks and nests and he is totally hands on in his approach and is meticulous in hatchery management and record keeping.

He has a masters’ degree in Marine management from the University of York in England. He has worked with turtle conservation projects in Orissa, Costa Rica and now in the Andaman Islands along with Kartik Shanker, one of the founders of SSTCN and now an acknowledged expert on sea turtles.

Sanjiv Gopal was coordinator of the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network from 1997-2001 and held the group together during some of its toughest years when turtle nesting numbers drastically dropped on the Chennai coast.

‘Sanju’ as he is known to friends,  patrolled the beach stretch from Besant Nagar to Neelankarai  with a rare combination of passionate energy and commitment every week night through the entire turtle season during his entire college years. In all, he was involved for 8 years.

On graduating from college he joined Greenpeace where he has been working as an Oceans campaigner since 2002, battling some of India’s worst environmental issues with his usual energy and flair.


  1. Its good to know about your team and its efforts. I would like to be a part of the team and contribute in some way. Please let me know if I can be of some use to the cause. Thank you

    • Hi Aishwarya, we are a volunteer based group and will be happy with any support.
      Do get in touch with us in Jan

      • Hi Harish,

        Please read the FAQs in the website for all details about joining our public walk. You can then let us know when you’d like to join.

  2. Hello :) i would like to join you guys on turtle walks. i need to know the procedure and the date for the next walk .
    Thank you .

    • Hi Visu,

      All details regarding the walks are in the FAQs in our website.
      Please read them and let us know when you’d like to join.
      We walk every friday & saturday through feb and march

  3. Great work ppl.Such initiatives are the way thank Mother nature for its wonderful creations.Was with u on 25th with our college :)

    • Glad you enjoyed. We’ve released around 7500 hatchlings so far this season :-)

  4. Is there any walk today guyys

    • Walks stopped early this season because nesting stopped early. If you want to come to the hatchery to watch hatchlings being released, you can call us on 9789864166 or 9940300200

  5. Hi
    I know about ur works during my school days during a lesson on olive ridleys, now i would like to join u for this good cause. Help me to get in to this walk.

    Thanking you

    • Hi Abinaya, turtle walks happen in January, Feb and March. Walks are over now but you can come to the hatchery in the evening to see hatchlings being released. If you’re interested, call me on 9940300200.

  6. Hai,
    My self and my kids are interested to join the walk, can you let me know the details. My id is,

    • Hi Yamini, Turtle walks will start in the weekend after Pongal. Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions in the website and mail or call if you want to join

  7. Very nice !!!! Would love to join this club. Would like to be a part of the team as well. Do let me know the process of joining this forum

    • Hi, Turtle walks will start in the weekend after Pongal. Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions in the website and mail or call if you want to join

  8. It’s quite awesome to see this effort continue. I was an old timer (~1991-1999) and just rediscovered the first SSTCN website that I created for the organization. I even wrote some comments in the source ~15 years ago!

    - K3

    • Hey Karthik,
      Its great to hear from you, particularly as we are about to begin SSTCN’s 25th year. If there were to be an SSTCN hall of fame – you are up there in it. Present members including me would love to meet you – if for nothing other than to hear your experiences.

      We recently met Gouthami and it was very good to meet her.

      It was nice to see your website – wish we knew about it earlier – we wouldnt have replicated the work. The early work for this website was put in by Bharath Chandramouli with a lot of input given by Kartik Shanker.

      Do join us on our walks when you are in Chennai.

  9. [...] and are safely released into the sea. Of course, ideally we shouldn’t do this because, as Arun says, these animals have been nesting along these beaches for millions of years and to recreate [...]

  10. HI. Its great to know the work being done by the organisation. I am from Mumbai and i would like to volunteer and help in any of the projects. Kindly notify me, if i could be of any help.

    • Hi Tanmay,
      Happy to see your interest. Hatchling season’s going on and if you do visit Chennai anytime before end April, maybe you can visit our hatchery and learn about whats going on?

  11. Hi.. I’m so eager to be a part of this good work! Could you please let me know as to when the next turtle walk is to be organized? Sometime soon? I’m really really interested to take part. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Annapoorni,

      Please read through the FAQs in the website and let us know when you want to join. Please mail us at

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