Birding Event at Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark campus
The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is one of the richest cultural and natural areas of the Eastern Himalayas. Its lush green mystical forest echoes with the chirping sounds of 75+ species of birds from the region amongst the serenading sounds of other wildlife and rustling of the trees.
With the objective to promote education and awareness on community conservation efforts, that has resulted in the nurturing and flourishing of endemic and endangered species of birds and other biodiversity, a two days Birding Event was conducted at the Ark on 10 th and 11 th March 2018 under Naturenomics™ School.
36 students along with 2 faculty members from Darrang College and 39 students with 2 faculty members from Tezpur College participated in the Programme. Guided by Mr. Jaydev Mandal and Ms. Somuyita Sur, Research Scholars from Gauhati University, the participants were able to identify 50+ species of birds.
At the beginning of the programme, participants were shown two documentaries, Seeds- Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark http://bit.ly/2mYR5na and Rural Futures- Udalguri Landscape Mission- http://bit.ly/2ApeYKE. Both these films capture community conservation efforts by Balipara Foundation. It highlights integrating rural livelihoods with community development through the concept of Naturenomics™ - creating social- environmental & economic interdependence.
Followed by a botanic trail to sight the different, plants, flowers, exotic birds, etc. and to nurture their mind, body and soul through “Mithingayari Haang – Jungle Bathing”. They were able to sight the Indian Pond-Heron, White-eyed Buzzard, Asian Emerald Dove, Asian Koel, White-throated Kingfisher, etc. and enhance their learning on the wealth of habitat and the importance of its conservation. The place is indeed, a haven for birders, naturalists and wildlife photographers.
Ethnic meals for breakfast and lunch were also served to the participants, allowing them to relish local dishes and healthy and organic produce. As the participants indulged in flavorful meals served on leaves and in the open forest area, they experienced the cultural cuisine of the region and the eco-friendly way of living of the local communities.
The Birding Expedition was a successful endeavor as participants expressed that the learnings exceeded their expectations, and displayed enthusiasm to participate in future initiatives and events. In order to develop more meaningful programmes and foster nature-based education for impactful conservation, we will explore more programmes with the faculties. Ms. Somoyita Sur will join us for a workshop on “Say No to Plastic” by the third week of April and Mr. Jaydev Mandal has also expressed his interest in Birding with the students of Assam Valley School in the near future.
We hope to engage the millennials in this form of learning that allows them to connect with nature. The Nature Capital at the Ark and the key role that communities play in conservation of various endemic species of Eastern Himalayan region, positions the Ark as a unique landscape and an evolving center for research, education, community development and conservation.