About Vth USBF

About USBF 5
5th Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival: Uniting Birds, Birdwatchers & Communities
9th to 11th March 2018, Thano Reserved Forest and Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Garhwal, Uttarakhand

Background: Bird species diversity of Uttarakhand State is unparalleled with a reported bird list of 710 species (An Updated Checklist and Bibliography of Birds of Uttarakhand, Dhananjai Mohan & Sanjay Sondhi, 2017) representing more than half of all bird species found in India. Bird Tourism holds immense promise for both conservation of this unique heritage and benefits for livelihood generation in remote areas of the State. Uttarakhand Birdwatching Programme was launched on 5th February 2012 from Asan Conservation Reserve to promote bird tourism. Under this programme, more than 35 bird watching camps have been conducted during the last three years at various rural tourism destinations. More than 650 forest staff, nature guides and students have already benefitted from these camps. The camps have been supplemented with large scale events organised by the Uttarakhand Forest Department– 1st Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival at Asan Conservation Reserve from 5th to 9th February 2014; 2nd Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival 4th to 8th February 2015.; Doon Valley Spring Bird Festival held in Asan, Forest Research Institute, Rajpur and Thano from 11th to 14th February 2016, the 4th Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival, Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary from 3rd to 5th March 2017, as well as the Rajpur Nature Festivals in November 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Purpose: The purpose of USBFs is to improve the profile of Uttarakhand as a crucial state in India for bird conservation and as a birdwatching destination as well as to popularize lesser-known destinations such as Thano Reserved Forest and Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve-the locations of the 5th Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival. The bird festival will help to scale up bird awareness, birdwatching activity and benefits through bird tourism and ecotourism. The Festival will seek to build on the partnerships and investments of the Uttarakhand Birdwatching Programme. The USBF will be organized in such a way that it is more inclusive and visible and draws strength from the location of State’s Capital.

The specific objectives will be:

1. To provide an opportunity for birdwatching in Thano and Jhilmil Jheel to birdwatchers and the general public.

2. To increase awareness about birds and bird tourism, its ongoing and potential benefits for bird conservation and community-based livelihoods through ecotourism.

3. To create an opportunity for networking of bird tour operators and rural tourism practitioners, local community members including home stay owners and guides, tourism industry and planners for sharing knowledge and collaboration.

4. To showcase lesser-known, off beat destinations and rural tourism initiatives in Uttarakhand.

Dates: The USBF 5 will be a three-day event that will start on the morning of Friday 9th March 2018 and end on the evening of Sunday 11th March 2018.

Venue: Birdwatching and other walks will be organized at Thano Reserved Forest and Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Garhwal. The festival location will be at the Thano Forest Rest House campus, 25 kilometer from Dehradun. A birdwatching camp for nature guides and birdwatchers will precede the Festival.
Activities: The USBF 5 will include diverse activities:

• Birdwatching Camp: A Birdwatching camp will be conducted to orient the guides and bird watchers.
• Inaugural Ceremony: The Bird Festival will be inaugurated on Friday 9th March 2018 with a keynote address.
• Guided birdwatching will be organized for birdwatchers and public. More than 35 birdwatchers and guides from all across Uttarakhand will assist in guided birdwatching over three days. A shadow guide program
• Separate guided birdwatching will be conducted for schools and institutions, at convenient timings.
• The Thano Heritage Walk, conducted by heritage specialists, will walk you through Thano as it existed in the past.
• Nature education specialists will conduct a whole range of activities during the festival for children.
• Bird sketching for children and adults
• Photography workshop
• Talks and film shows
• Livelihoods and entrepreneurship workshop involving local communities
• Closing Ceremony: The festival will culminate in the evening on Sunday 11th March 2017.
Accommodation: Boarding and lodging will have to be organised and paid for by visitors. Limited tented accommodation for visitors is being organised on a paid basis near the Thano Forest Rest House campus, approximately 25 kilometers from Dehradun.

Participants: It is expected that the three-day Bird Festival will attract over 1,500 participants in various activities. The participants will come largely from Dehradun/Haridwar and other parts of Uttarakhand but also Delhi, Punjab and HP. The participants will include past trainees from Ecotourism Wing’s capacity building programmes (nature guides, cooks and FRH Attendants), schools, educational and training institutions, forestry staff and general public.

Partners: The event will be organized by the Uttarakhand Forest Department (Ecotourism Wing) with support from DFO Dehradun/DFO Haridwar and other partner institutions (Titli Trust, Nature Science Initiative, WWF, Doon Nature Walk, Been There Doon That amongst others).

For more information, contact

Chief Conservator of Forests (Ecotourism), Uttarakhand Forest Department
Dehradun 248001. Tel +91 135 2749227

DFO, Dehradun, +91 9412085077

DFO, Haridwar, +91 9458171109

Sanjay Sondhi, Titli Trust
+91 9412052189

Raman Kumar, Nature Science Initiative
+91 9412348345

Shweta Golani, Doon Nature Walks
+91 9837246264

Pankaj Joshi, WWF India
+91 9759066496

USBF5 is a PLASTIC FREE EVENT! While drinking water will be available on the festival grounds, there will be no sale of bottled water onsite. Please bring your own water bottles, if you would like to carry drinking water on the birdwatching trails or at the festival grounds.