Read some of the summaries from activities that happened during Polar Week September 2015.
On the occasion of the International Polar Week observed the world over by Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), WII-ENVIS centre in collaboration with Indian Polar Research Network (APECSIndia) and Dolphin Institute of Biomedical and Natural Sciences organized a one-day event on 24 September 2015 at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The event featured talks from scientists and researchers working in the Himalayan landscape and Antarctica. A photography workshop and bird and plant identification nature walk was also held as the side-events. The event was attended by around 80 graduate and post-graduate students from the Dolphin Institute, several researchers, faculty members and staff of the Wildlife Institute of India.
The event was initiated with a brief introduction of the organizers by IPRN members, Rupa and Gitanjali. Dr. Vinod B Mathur (Director, WII) inaugurated the event by providing a background on the research in the Polar Regions by WII and significance of these studies for the youth.
The first presentation of the event was on Conservation Strategies for Himalayan Biodiversity by eminent botanist and alpine ecologist Dr. Gopal S Rawat (Senior Professor, WII). Dr Rawat introduced the diverse faunal and floral forms found in the Himalayas to the audience and issues affecting their conservation. He talked in depth about the ecosystem services provided by these species in the greater Himalayan region stressing on the areas where research in needed. He extolled the youth to come forward as professional in the field to address issues such as alien invasive species and illegal trade.
The second talk of the day was by IPRN Vice-president Anant Pande (Senior Research Fellow, WII) titled Life in the Freezer on the varied life forms found in Antarctica including the humans. Anant explained about the challenges faced by scientists and support staff in Antarctica while working in extreme conditions. He talked about the variety of species diversity in the cold desert of Antarctica many of which are relatively unknown to the general public.
The last presentation of the day was an interactive workshop on Basics of Photography by Mr. Sougata Sadhukhan. Sougata introduced the basic concepts of capturing the best photographs using simple examples from daily life. He explained in detail the usage of aperture, framing and rules for making the best use of one’s equipment.
The participants of the event were taken on a nature walk in the serene campus of Wildlife Institute of India. The walk was led by Monika Kaushik (Ornithologist) and Amit Kumar (IPRN member, UGC Senior Research Fellow) for identification of birds and plants found in the Himalayan foothills respectively. Monika showed several species of birds to the participants while creating a checklist for future reference and explaining the importance of common species in our life. The participants were also exposed to developing skills and right equipment needed to identify birds. Amit displayed the common but relatively lesser known species of plants found in the region. He elucidated the distinguishing characters of medicinal herbs and grasses to the forestry students of the Dolphin Institute. The trail walk was enjoyed by all the participating students and researchers while also learning new skills in the field.