As A Rapporteur in Biodiversity Knowledge Café
On 22 May 2013, the International Day for Biological Diversity was celebrated with the theme Water and Biodiversity at ICIMOD Knowledge Park, Godavari, Lalitpur. Realizing the importance of more research on biodiversity and the need of information sharing, Biodiversity Knowledge Café was organized in which 30 students from three schools of Kathmandu Valley Participated. The event was organized by The Small Earth Nepal (SEN), jointly with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
The program was kicked off with the opening remarks by Dr. Eklabhya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations, ICIMOD and tree plantation on different spots of the knowledge park. “Water, Biodiversity and all the living creatures are inter-related to each other. Water and biodiversity provide different services to living creatures and we play the vital role to conserve these components.” said Dr. Sharma.
Following the plantation, Biodiversity Knowledge Café started with a warm welcome and brief introduction of the program by Mr. Jeeban Panthi, Research Coordinator, SEN. The knowledge café on the biodiversity was facilitated by Prof. Dr. Dharma R. Dangol (Natural History Museum), Ms. Puspa Keshari Shrestha (Entomologists), Mr. Mitra Pathak (National Herbarium and Plant Laboratory) and Mr. Jyotendra Thakuri (Bird Conservation Nepal).
Prof. Dr. Dharma R. Dangol highlighted on the importance of research at student’s level with presentations and learning with understanding. He refreshed students’ knowledge on biodiversity with few questions. “There are different species of plants which are important for the environment and there are also some species which are harmful to the environment.” said Dr. Dangol. He further elaborated on taxonomy on plants and animals along with biological identification, nomenclature and classification with the examples of different species.
Ms. Puspa Keshari Shrestha explained about the term “Entomology” and shared her collection of different species of insects found in Nepal. She also highlighted on the important role of insects to maintain the balance in the ecosystem. “It is very difficult to identify the insects as there is large number of species and so many of them look similar to each other. Example: butterfly and Moth.” said Ms. Shrestha.
Mr. Mitra Pathak gave a brief about National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (NHPL) and highlighted on herbarium preparation processes and its services to students. He also shared some photos of the botanical exploration and different surveys. He explained the process of tissue culture, incubation lab and autoclave process. “It is important to capture their knowledge on plant resource and use.”, said Mr. Pathak.
“A bird is a BIRD”, started Mr. Jyotendra Thakuri explaining what a bird exactly looks like and its classification. He highlighted on the recent status of birds in Nepal. “There are 871 species of birds found in Nepal and 149 species are nationally threatened ” sated Mr. Thakuri. He also explained about the importance of birds, what is bird-watching and the equipment used during bird-watching. He also shared interesting photos of some birds.
The students were then divided into discussed on the importance of biodiversity in their studies, problems that they will face in future due to loss of biodiversity in the community, role of students for conserving biodiversity and need of making their school area more green and environment friendly. The students expressed the importance of such program to be included in the school curriculum as well as it should be more frequent for the practical learning. They also insisted that having an open interaction with experts helped them broaden their knowledge on biodiversity more than what they have been learning from the text books.
There was a field guided tour on Flora and Fauna identification for the students during which the students got an opportunity to know more about flora and fauna, apart from their school curriculum, via experts. Moreover, the art competition added more essence to the knowledge café during which the students sketched the flora and fauna they have observed during the field tour.
The announcement of the winner was made and prizes were distributed to top three arts during the closing of Biodiversity Knowledge Café in ICIMOD headquarter.