Growing up, Aman Sharma recalls how his parents would take him to bird sanctuaries and national parks for vacations.

This was the first step in him discovering his passion for wildlife and photography.

By the time Aman was 13, he had already started bird watching from his balcony.

“One time, a bulbul built a nest on my balcony. I was so excited that I borrowed my mom’s camera to capture the view,” he recalls.

He adds, “When I tried to convey my findings to my friends or family, I figured that none of them really knew that these species exist in a city like Delhi or that they could spot them around their houses.”

This was a turning point in his life and Aman started to go out for bird walks in the city.

At the age of 14, he and two other like-minded kids from Delhi founded the Cuckoo About Nature Club — a birding club for children.

Additionally, the teenager also works around addressing the climate crisis and has been part of several national and international campaigns and initiatives to combat climate change.

During the pandemic, Aman could not travel to his favourite parks, so he decided to turn his 1,500 sqft terrace into a tiny jungle.

After thorough research on setting up a terrace garden, Aman was able to grow more than 500 plants on his terrace, which he says attracts hundreds of birds and butterflies.

“Whenever I go out, I always keep an eye out for finding a cutting or sapling of a plant. Besides, I have travelled across Delhi, visiting forests to collect plant cuttings,” he says.

Here are a few tips for those who want to set up their own urban jungle: 1. He advises making sure that your terrace has enough space and water for the plants to grow.

3. If you want to invite birds, make sure you have fruiting trees like Guava and pomegranates. 4. Grow many flowering plants or trees to invite bees in addition to butterflies.

“Young people need to stop waiting for heroes and be the hero themselves. Go beyond academics and studies to take up hobbies that actually impact society and build a healthy environment. Take up something that can actually save this planet,” he appeals.