A nature camp was organised by the region’s leading biodiversity conservation organisation- Aaranyak in partnership with the Bodoland University, Kokrajhar from 7-9 April in Ultapani Forest Range of Chirang Reserve Forest. Aaranyak’s nature camp is an annual event, conducted with an aim of building capacity of students and nature lovers to create a trained and capable citizen workforce to work for nature conservation and environment protection.
A total of 25 members of Aaranyak participated in the camp wherein they learned many aspects of ecological research and conservation activities through theory classes, field visits, interactions with the experts and hands-on sessions which included nature walks, bird-watching, village walks and social surveys to understand the perception of local communities towards local environmental issues and challenges.Besides they were taught how different tools such as the Remote Sensing and GIS are useful in wildlife conservation, use of Global Positioning System (GPS),data analysis and interpretation, and presentation on human wildlife conflict and its mitigation.
Collaboration with Bodoland University added value to the camp, as many faculty-members and scientists interacted with the participants as resource persons and shared their expertise. The camp was inaugurated by Prof. Laishram Ladu Singh, the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the varsity, who encouraged the participants through his speech. Besides, the presence of Professors from various departments of the varsity made the camp fruitful. From Bodoland University, Prof. Hilloljyoti Singha,Prof. Pralip Narzary, Dr. Kushal Choudhury, Dr. Sanjib Baruah, and Sanswarang Basumatary-PhD research scholar interacted with the participants in the capacity of resource persons.Moreover, Promothesh Debroy, ACF, Haltugaon Forest Divison was present during the valedictory programme.
During the camp Aaranyak was represented by Dr. Bibhab Kr. Talukdar, CEO and Secretary General, Dr. Dilip Chetry, Vice President, Dr. Bibhuti P. Lahkar, Programme Secretary, Mr. Arup Kr. Das, GIS Specialist, and Dr. Jayanta Kr. Roy, a herpetofauna expert. The other resource persons included Dr. Namita Brahma, Asst. Professor at TISS Guwahati, and Mr. Nirmal Kanti Dey, a retired environmental officer at BRPL, Bongaigaon and nature enthusiast.The camp was spearheaded by Aaranyak’s organizing secretary- Ashok Dey and organizing officer-Pranab Goswami.
The participants mentioned that the camp has benefitted them as they learned many facets of conservation and how successful conservation efforts must comprise of an integrated approach. Besides, they enjoyed the picturesque landscape and biodiversity rich area of Ultapani range. Ultapani is a part of Manas Biosphere Reserve comprising of dense semi- evergreen and moist deciduous forest which harbours many rare and threatened species such as the Golden Langur, Great Pied Hornbill, besides high-profile species like big cats and elephants. It is also home to many butterfly and orchid species.
Aaranyak shows gratefulness to all the volunteers, and local community members, without whose participation the camp would not have been successfully conducted. Organisers are grateful to Mr. Kanak Nurzery, President of Ultapani Bathow Research society who provided immense effort in arranging the venue for the event.