Guwahati: A nature camp was organised by the region’s leading biodiversity  conservation organisation- Aaranyak in partnership with Bodoland University, Kokrajhar, from April 7-9 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 participants learned aspects of ecological research and conservation activities through theory classes, field visits, interactions with experts and hands-on sessions that 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 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.

The 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, Vice Chancellor of the varsity, who encouraged the participants through his speech.

From Bodoland University, Prof. Hilloljyoti Singha, Prof. Pralip Narzary, Dr. Kushal Choudhury, Dr. Sanjib Baruah, and Sanswarang Basumatary, a 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.  

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 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 shared how the camp has benefitted them as they learned many facets of conservation and how successful conservation efforts must comprise 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 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. 

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