9th Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum of Balipara Foundation concludes

Guwahati: Dr Prabin Saikia was presented Lifetime Service Award 2021 by Balipara foundation on the 9th Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum, which concluded at a city hotel here on Thursday evening.

Dr Saikia, through his forest of pilgrimage, ‘Banatirtha’, is preserving the age-old Assamese traditional knowledge in context to rituals, beliefs and medicinal usage of indigenous plants species.

His self-curated indigenous botanical library ‘Banatirtha’ is now a habitat to many wild species like snakes, butterflies, lizards, birds, mongoose, amongst others. Through his voluntary contribution towards indigenous plants documentation, he is creating an ‘indigenous plants library’ or a knowledge bank for future generations.

On the last day of the 9th edition of the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum, the flagship annual event of the Balipara Foundation, on the theme ‘Ecology is Economy’, the forum awarded and recognised 11 extraordinary visionaries of the Eastern Himalayas and their indomitable contribution. These grassroots leaders have worked tirelessly to empower, engage, sensitise their communities towards environmental protection and create opportunities for rural livelihoods.

The Rural Futures Rewilding Award recipient was Ivan Zhimomi of Nagaland, a local champion of mobilising the people in the region to establish a network of community-conserved areas (CCA)- The Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation and Livelihood Network at Zunheboto. The award was presented by Chanakya Chaudhury, Vice President, Corporate Services. 

The Naturenomics Award went to Sonam Tashi Gyaltsen of Sikkim. Sonam also founded La in 2016, as Echostream’s own product/ social enterprise which is focused on developing the creative industry capacity and capabilities in the Indian Himalayan Region, starting with Sikkim. Sonam is also the founder of a zero-waste tea brand called T, which won the CII-NID Design Excellence award in 2015 in the industrial design category.

The Naturenomics Award also went to Kurule Tenupa Village of Nepal, which has reversed and solved the issue of water crisis through permaculture and established various learning grounds. The once barren land has now become fertile and is operating as a green organic farm.

The Food for the Future Award 2021 went to Momee Pegu of Assam. She connected indigenous women by creating organic pesticides, sustainable activity, and organic farming that provided them with the freedom of decision making. She has also generated employment for villages by creating a better livelihood for the future. The award was presented to her by Anish Andheria, President – Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The Food for the Future Award 2021 went to Gopal Nag of Assam. Gopal Nag is a specially-abled man hailing from Biswanath Chariali district and has put up an extraordinary example of grit and patience. His disability couldn’t restrain his dream and passion for creating a food farm in his home backyard. The award was presented by Ruma Chakraborty, 92.7 Big FM.

The Green Guru Award went to Layland Marak of Meghalaya. Marak is a farming enthusiast, entrepreneur, community leader and teacher. Mark has helped his entire community under the Rongram Community and Rural Development (C&RD) Block to earn a better livelihood than the environmentally devastating practices of farming like shifting cultivation, rampant in the region.

The Green Guru Award also went to Amir Hamza Xihad of Bangladesh (Mekateam). Mekateam is a social start-up that facilitates Team Building activities, which through interactive learning sessions and games, targeting corporates, students and professionals from diverse backgrounds.

The Young NaturalistAward recipient was Lalvohbika of Mizoram. Lalvohbika, a 28-year hunter-turned conservationist from West Phaileng village of Mizoram’s Mamit district, has come a long way in his efforts as a conservator of wildlife in his district. Lalvohbika has made many wildlife video documentaries, which he feels is the first step in creating awareness among the masses, and in particular, the youths of Mizoram.

The Forest Ranger & Guards Award went to Kime Rambia of Arunachal Pradesh. Kime Rambia is a Range Forest Officer based at the Tippi Range, Pakke Tiger Reserve of East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh. He along with his forest staff patrol the Kameng river by boat and has started night patrolling. Kime has brought new life and enthusiasm to his forest staff, who widely acknowledge that he is one of the best rangers Pakke has ever had.

The Forest Ranger & Guards Award also went to Dorji Duba of Bhutan. A dedicated forester who coordinates with all tiger research and conservation work in the field at Bhutan, he is the field expert in camera trapping. The first one to get a photo of the elusive Snow leopard at JSWNP, Bhutan. He also rediscovered the Primula Chasmophyla, an endemic plant to Bhutan, from JSWNP in 2019.

The Rural Futures Rewilding Grant went to Manjit Patir of Assam. Manjit has donated trees to bring environmental awareness among local people. He formed the Prakritik Bhiksu Dal, which has now been renamed as Save Green World Mission. He has encouraged local youth to do voluntary conservation by planting or dedicating a sapling.

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