Webinar on "Wildlife and its Conservation"

Date: 2020-10-08

'Wildlife Week' is celebrated every year in India from 2nd- 8th October. The aim of Wildlife Week is to make people aware about protection of wildlife. In addition, the Government of India established an Indian Board of Wildlife, which works to raise awareness about conservation of wildlife. Wildlife plays an important role in balancing our environment.
HP ENVIS Hub, HIMCOST celebrated "Wildlife Week" through online keeping in view the Covid-19 epidemic. The event was organized through a webinar on the theme "Wildlife and its Conservation" and was attended by 100 participants.
Dr. Aparna, Coordinator, ENVIS, hosted the webinar and briefed the audience about the significance of wildlife week. Ms. Tilottama Verma, IPS, Additional Director, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Government of India, Dr. Savita, I.F.S., Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), H.P. Forest Department, Shimla and Dr. Arindran Gopala, Director-IGCMC, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) were the eminent speakers of the webinar. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Savita said that the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department has taken many steps to provide relief to the people of the state from monkey menace. She also said that the steps taken for the rejuvenation of Ganga have been very effective and now it will be replicated for 9 other major river systems of the country.
Ms. Tilotama Verma cautioned that according to an Organization comprising of 150 members of the United Nations illegal about one million species of wildlife will become extinct in the next few years. Illegal trafficking is one of the biggest threats. In the international market illegal wildlife trade & illegal timber trade is about forty-billion-dollar business. India is a prosperous country for flora and fauna and from here many animals are trafficked to Southeast Asia and China. Major species among these include; Tiger, Tibetan antelope (Chiru), pangolin, snakes, turtles and butterflies. The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is playing an important role in curbing the illegal trade of these organisms. She asserted that smugglers are using very modern methods and weapons and to deal with this problem different departments must come together.
Dr. Arindran Gopala gave detailed information about various techniques used in wildlife tracking such as radio, GPS, satellite, camera, radar, drone, acoustic, VHF tracking, conservation genetics, artificial intelligence and IoT. Students, researchers and officials of Forest Department participated in this webinar which lasted for about 2 hours and was highly appreciated by them. The questions raised by participants were answered by the experts in very simple language. All experts emphasized that conservation of wildlife is a collective responsibility and each and every citizen should be made aware about it.

Strengthening of Eco club Eco club Schools under Green School Programme

Date: 2020-09-24

Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) is the State Nodal Agency (SNA) for the National Green Crops (NGC) Programme of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC), Govt. of India. To strengthen the Eco club programme in the State the HIMCOSTE has established the Roop Top Solar energy Plant in Govt. Sen. Sec. School, Thunag, District Mandi (15kWp capacity) and Govt Sen Sec. School, Dharampur, District Solan (11kWp capacity). The objective of the programme is to make school Zero Electricity Bill and to sensatise the students on the issue of Energy Conservation and builtup the scientific temperament to understand the solar energy concept. Simultaneously the Solar Energy Plants are being established at Govt. Sen. Sec. School, Panjgain, Bilaspur, (12kWp capacity) Govt Sen Sec School(Girs), Chamba (26kWp capacity) & Govt Sen Sec School(Girs), Poanta sahib (25kWp capacity)

Online Quiz Competition and Webinar on occasion of “International Day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer – 16th September, 2020”

Date: 2020-09-24

HP ENVIS Hub, HIMCOSTE, Shimla celebrated “International day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer” through online mode due to Covid-19 pandemic. The programme was organized through two different activities i.e. Online Quiz Competition for school students and Webinar. The Webinar was conducted in collaboration with National Green Corps Programme (NGC-ECO-CLUB) for students, district Science Supervisors, Schools Eco-Clubs and other participants from various States on the theme “Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection” given by United Nations for the year 2020. A total of 100 participants were also participated in Webinar.

Dr. Aparna, ENVIS Coordinator hosted the webinar and briefed about the activities undertaken by ENVIS Hub during this Covid-19 pandemic. The lead speakers for the webinar were Prof. Subhakanta Mohapatra, Professor of Geography, School of Sciences (SOS), Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi and Dr. Sanjeev Sharma, Assistant Professor, School of Social Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi.

Prof. Mohapatra spoke on the theme “Replenishing the Ozone for healing the Warming Planet”. Depletion of Ozone Layer is a global environment problem affecting human health, plants productivity, aquatic ecosystems and materials. Replacing Ozone depleting substances with other chemicals has substantially helped in recovering Ozone Layer above Antarctica. It is predicted that Ozone Layer would be completely healed by 2030s above the Northern Hemisphere and by 2050s above the Southern Hemisphere. There has been 1-3% of improvement every ten years since 2000. These small efforts would ultimately help in cooling the warming planet and help in achieving six Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Sanjeev Sharma gave a talk on the theme “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Reconnecting with Nature for the wellbeing and safeguard of human & planet health”. He highlighted that indigenous communities are reservoirs of knowledge, the wellbeing of all species is connected to the health of the Earth. Human beings have been using natural resources beyond the carrying capacity of our planet. It is the need of the hour that students are taught to develop a relation of family with the nature. The students and teachers are brand ambassadors for carrying messages about balancing human needs and desire. Sh. Ravi Sharma, Coordinator NGC-ECO-CLUB thanked the experts and participants.

In online Quiz Competition, a total of 1178 students from 11th Class and 1087 students from 12th class participated from different parts of Himachal Pradesh. Gaurav Patyal, S/o Mr. Kushal Kumar Patyal, and Nandini Rajpoot, D/o Mr. Kamlesh Kumar both from Hamirpur Public School got 1st position, Dushyant, S/o Mr. Sushil Kumar from DAV Centenary Public School, Mandi got 2nd position and Shivansh, S/o Mr. Sanjiv Sharma & Shagun Sharma, D/o Mr. Susheel Kumar both from DAV Sr. Sec. Public School, Bilaspur got 3rd position. Prizes would be given to these winners and e-certificates would be given to all the participants.

Online Photography Competition and Webinar on occasion of “International Day for Biological Diversity - 22nd May, 2020”

Date: 2020-05-22

Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) celebrated “International day for Biological Diversity” on 22nd May 2020. Conforming the norms of social distancing, on this occasion a Webinar on theme for this year “Our Solutions are in Nature” was organized by HP ENVIS Hub in which eminent experts, researchers and students from various states participated. Sh. Nishant Thakur, Joint Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE was Chief Guest for this Webinar and lead speakers included Dr. Rakhi Singh, Joint Director, Department of Ayurveda Govt. of Himachal Pradesh, Dr. Anil Thakur, Associate Professor, Govt. Degree College, Theog, Dr. Vaneet Jishtu, Scientist, HFRI, Panthaghati, Dr. Aparna Sharma, HP ENVIS Coordinator and Mrs. Shubhra Banerjee, Sr. Scientific Officer. A total of 80 participants attended the webinar. Speaking on the theme of IBD-2020 “Our Solutions are in Nature” Dr. Rakhi Singh highlighted how the ancient wisdom Ayurveda was helping humans in preventing various diseases in day to day life. She also mentioned that ecosystem-oriented approach should be kept in focus while finding solutions to human ailments in nature. She also appraised that medicinal plants were being lost at a very fast pace which is very alarming. In HP there are four herbal gardens and one germplasm centre which is taking up conservation measures. Dr. Anil Thakur informed the participants about some “Medicinal Plants of Shimla district” like Kasmal, Bhicc Hubuti, Bana, Basuti, Kachnar etc., and elucidated their medicinal properties. Dr. Vaneet Jishtu spoke on “Forest and biodiversity -Too Precious to Lose” in which he said that biodiversity resources are too precious, and they should be used judiciously. Mrs Shubhra Banerjee gave her talk on “Biodiversity: It’s Importance”, in which she focused on the food chain importance which will help in balancing the Biodiversity. Through a new initiative to bring forth the creative spark in students who are confined in their homes due to COVID 19 pandemic, an online photography contest was organized for all school students (classes 6- 12) across Himachal Pradesh. They were encouraged to click pictures during lockdown period on four themes (Birds, Butterfly, Scenery, Blooming Trees) and send their entries through email and WhatsApp. This idea was very well received by students and in an overwhelming response; approximately 2400 entries were received.

Certificate Course in Preparation of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) under Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP)

Date: 2020-02-28

HP ENVIS HUB at Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE), Shimla conducted a two months duration course in Preparation of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) under the Green Skill Development Program of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India. In line with the Skill India Mission of Hon’ble Prime Minister, MoEF&CC has taken up an initiative for skill development in the environment and forest sector to enable India's youth to get gainful employment and/or self-employment through short term courses called the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP). Chief Guest of the inaugural function was Dr. S.S. Samant, Director, Himalayan Forest Research Institute (HFRI), Shimla. Dr. Mohar Singh, Officer-In-Charge, NBPGR, Sh. Sunny Sharma, Joint Member Secretary, Dr. Aparna Sharma and staff of ENVIS Hub were also present during the program. 15 students have been selected for the training program: 1 from Chandigarh, 1 from Jammu & Kashmir, 1 from Ladakh and 12 from Himachal Pradesh. During the course, for field and lab visits students were taken to best institutions in HP and Uttarakhand. Some of them include HFRI & Potters Hill; Indian Agricultural Research Institute; Water Catchment Area, Kufri, Forest Research Institute; Uttarakhand State Biodiversity Board; Uttarakhand Council for Science & Technology; Wildlife Indian Institute, Botanical Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India and Rajaji National Park. These activities were shared by the Ministry on its twitter handle. Students also attended one day seminar on Faunal Diversity of Trans-Himalayas at ZSI, High Altitude Research Station, Solan organized by MoEF&CC, GoI and interacted with eminent scientists. As a part of field training the task of making PBR in Sargheen near Pujarli was assigned under the supervision of experts from HFRI. The function concluded with distribution of certificates and mementoes to students and experts.

Swachhata Campaign under Swachhata Action Plan (SAP)

Date: 2020-01-30

The HP Council for Science, Technology & Environment (HIMCOSTE) organized Swachhata Campaign in seven districts Sirmour (Paonta Sahib, Kala Amb & Nahan), Solan (Baddi, Parwanoo & Nalagarh), Hamirpur (Hamirpur, Deotsidh & Nadaun), Mandi (Mandi, Sundernagar & Jogindernagar), Kangra (Dharamshala, Nurpur & Jawalamukhi), Una (na, Haroli & Amb), Bilaspur (Bilaspur, Ghumarwin & Sri Naina Devi) under Swachhata Action Plan 2019-20 in collaboration with the Education Department, Urban local bodies, Nehru Yuva Kendra and Voluntary organizations from January 28, 2020 to January 30, 2020. The volunteers of NYK, Yuva mandals, NGOs, Eco-club members, teachers, SMC Members MC were involved during the Swachhata Campaign. The HIMCOSTE had also organized Swachhata Hi Sewa Campaign on October 2, 2019 by involving school students of Shimla. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh started the scheme of distribution of dustbins to the Eco Clubs of Himachal Pradesh.

5.4 Regional Workshop on Conservation and Management of Wetlands for Wetlands Managers & Stakeholders of Northern States/UTs

Date: 2019-12-17

Two days regional workshop on “Conservation and Management of wetlands for wetland managers & stakeholders of Northern States /UTs” was organized on December 16-17, 2019 by HP State Wetlands Authority & Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change at Chandigarh. The Seven Northern States and Union Territory (H.P, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and J&K, Ladakh and Chandigarh) participated in this workshop. The objective of the two day workshop was to discuss the components of the management plans of wetlands of the state, providing inputs for improving the interventions of these plans on the basis of integrated management approaches and set a pathway for conservation and management of wetlands by assessing the health of water bodies. The two days workshop was inaugurated by Sh. Ravi Aggarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India. Sh. D.C.Rana, Member Secretary, Himachal Pradesh State Wetlands Authority (HPSWA) welcomed the Chief Guest, experts, & participants from the Northern States/UTs. Mrs. Manju Pandey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India, Mrs. Rita Khanna, Director (Wetland), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India, Mr. Suresh Babu, Wetland expert from WWF-India, New Delhi, Dr. Ritesh Kumar, Director, Wetlands International South Asia, New Delhi Dr. D.R. Thakur, Professor & Head of Bio Science Department, Himachal Pradesh University made their presentations on wetlands issues. A Field visit to Nagar Van, Nature Interpretation Centre Sukhna Lake, Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary was organized for the participants, coordinated by Forest Department, Chandigarh.

SECURE Himalaya GoI-UNDP-GEF Project

Date: 2019-11-08

Under the GoI-UNDP-GEF Project "Securing livelihoods, Conservation, Sustainable use and Restoration of high range Himalayan Ecosystems” (SECURE Himalaya) of the H.P. forest Department, one month duration training program on Para-taxonomy [Peoples Biodiversity Register (PBR) focused] conducted by HP ENVIS HUB. This program was conducted in collaboration with HP Forest Department and State Biodiversity Board. Under this program, nine selected youth from Shimla, Lahaul and Pangi were trained for documenting local biodiversity in the form of Peoples Biodiversity Registers (PBRs). The training program started on 10th October, 2019 with a field exposure visit on biodiversity of Northern Himalayas to Hail Himalayas near Shoghi, Shimla by experts of Dr. Anil Thakur, Associate Professor, Govt. Degree College Theog, Mr. Santosh Thakur, HP Forest Department and ENVIS Hub, HIMCOSTE. During this training program in addition to classroom lectures, trainees were also taken for Biodiversity documentation through exposure visits to SECURE landscapes and Research Institutes. Field visits were carried out at Hail Himalayas, Shimla, Jispa Valley in Keylong, High Altitude Research Station of IHBT at Ribling, G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development, Mohal Kullu, Himalayan Forest Research Institute (HFRI), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Shimla. Eminent experts from various educational institutes, research organizations, State Biodiversity Board and HP Forest Department delivered lectures on their respective subject areas. Dr. Savita, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife Wing) of HP Forest Department. Sh. Anil Thakur, CCF (Wildlife Wing) and Dr. S.P. Bhardwaj, Retd. Associate Director, Regional Fruit Research Station, UHF, Nauni, experts from State Biodiversity Board and ENVIS team were present during the concluding day of the program on 8th November, 2019. A booklet on Biodiversity of Shimla, Lahaul & Pangi Valleys prepared by HP ENVIS Hub was released by Dr. Savita. She appreciated the efforts of HP ENVIS Hub in successfully conducting this training program and said that this booklet would be of great help to students, young birders and field staff of the Forest Department.

Regional Workshop on Challenges of Disaster Risk Reduction in Hill Towns of North Western Himalayas

Date: 23-10-2019

"The Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology & Environment (HIMCOSTE) organized two days Regional workshop on “Challenges of Disaster Risk Reduction in Hill Towns of North-Western Himalayas at Hotel Holiday Home (HHH) Shimla on 22nd -23rd October 2019 jointly by HP State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA) in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India. In order to address the issues arising out of the hazards of various forms, whether natural or human-made from the Himalayan perspective and the challenges for the disaster risk reduction in hill towns being faced by the mountain states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The workshop was attended by (159) practitioners, administrators, researchers, technocrats and policy makers from the northwestern Himalayan States.

The discussions and deliberations focused mainly within the domain of the following technical sessions and themes: Hazard Vulnerability & Risk Assessment Improving Compliance with Building Bye-laws in Hill Towns Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness Improving Disaster Response and Recovery Sh. Jai Ram Thakur, Hon’ble Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh was the Chief Guest on this occasion. Smt. Sarveen Chaudhary, Hon’ble Minister (Urban Development, Town & Country Planning & Housing) was the Guest of Honour and Sh. Kamal Kishore, Hon’ble Member, NDMA was the Special Guest on this workshop who delivered the keynote address. Besides this, Smt. Kusum Sadrate, Mayor MC-Shimla; Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Worthy Chief Secretary, Govt. of H.P; Prof. Ravi Sinha, IIT Bombay were the imminent panelists in the inaugural session. Based on the deliberations made during various technical sessions, the following set of recommendations emerged, which have been summarized as below:- Planning and Preparedness Techno-Legal Regime Vulnerability Reduction IEC Integration of Science, Research and Practice Recommendations to Government of India/NDMA Response"