First Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival Asan CR
(Friday 7th to Sunday 9th February 2014)
Background: Uttarakhand Birdwatching Programme was launched in February 2012 from Asan Conservation Reserve by Shri N S Napalchiyal, CIC Uttarakhand. Twenty Four Birdwatching camps have been conducted during the last two years at various destinations and another 4 are in the offing, More than 350 forest staff, nature guides and students have already benefitted from these camps. The camps have received widespread media coverage. There have been over 100 news items in local media, 2 major stories in HT and 2 articles in national magazines. Requests are coming from Dehradun residents on how they can participate in Birdwatching camps.
State Sector Ecotourism Scheme was launched on 2004. Maximum investment has been made for Asan under the scheme for Asan during the last 10 years 9nearly Rs 3.00 crores). But Asan is yet to become popular as an ecotourism destination.
There is a need to reflect on the gains during the last 2 years, involve participants from various camps in one location, develop a strategy and action plan for the next three years and to take the programme beyond Forest Guards and bird guides to the larger public and students. There is also a need to garner support from the Government and Tourism Organizations in State’s developmental policy.
Purpose: The purpose of the SBF will be to scale up bird awareness, birdwatching activity and benefits through bird tourism by organizing an event that builds on the partnerships and investments of the Uttarakhand Birdwatching Programme during the last two years, is more inclusive and visible and that draws strength from the location of Asan at the tri-junction of three States namely Uttarakhand Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
The specific objectives were to
- To increase awareness about birds and mobilize public support for conservation.
- To promote Asan Conservation Reserve as a bird watching destination.
- To develop a strategy and action plan for the Uttarakhand Birdwatching Programme for the next three years (2014-2017).
- To provide an opportunity for recreation in an educational environment.
Venue: The USBF was organized at Asan Conservation Reserve located on the Dehradun Ponta Sahib NH. The Birdwatching was conducted at the Asan Barrage and the Yamuna River; the festival activities were conducted in the Forest Guard Training School park area; Birdwatching camp were conducted at Timli.
Partners: The event was organized by the Uttarakhand Forest Department Ecotourism Wing in partnership with partner institutions (Titli Trust, Nature Science Initiative, Arch, WWF Uttarakhand), local nature and bird clubs, Tourism Departments and Ashish Kothari and other individuals. The WII and BNHS played a significant role in delivering the content of the Festival. Forest Department and Tourism Organizations from Punjab and HP were also invited to participate in the event.
Programme & Activities: The USBF was inaugurated by HE Governor of Uttarakhand on Friday 7th February and culminate in the evening on Sunday 9th February 2014. The Festival included Scientific displays including demonstration of equipment and activities, Workshops, presentations, guided bird tours, vendors, food stalls, cultural performances and miscellaneous activities (book reading, quiz, etc.).
Participants: The participants came largely from Dehradun and other parts of Uttarakhand but also Delhi, Punjab and HP as well as some foreigners. The participants included past trainees from Ecotourism Wing’s capacity building programmes (nature guides, cooks and FRH Attendants), educational and training institutions, forestry staff and general public.
How to get there:
Map showing location of Asan Conservation Reserve