Communities and schools to monitor changes in temperature, snowfalls, rainfalls, river flows

For the very first time in Bhutan select schools and communities around the country will be trained to monitor changes in temperature, snowfalls, rainfalls and river flows.

School students and people of the communities will be trained and deployed for the purpose.

The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment (UWICE) under its program called Himalayan Environmental Rhythms Observatory and Evaluation System (HEROES) will study phenological changes in the environment.

Sangay Wangchuk from the UWICE said Bhutan has diverse flora and fauna but it is difficult to know the flowering and fruiting or animal migration patterns and how it changes over time.

“We felt the urgent need to understand such patterns to determine the change and to understand the cause of such changes,” he said.

According to UWICE, the schools and communities will be selected from different parts of the country to represent various ecological belts.

The people of the community and the students will be trained and provided with necessary equipment like computer and internet facilities.

“Necessary trainings will be provided to the selected schools and make them competent enough to train their students and record necessary data,” Sangay Wangchuk said.

UWICE will install weather loggers to record temperature, precipitation and wind data within the reach of each selected school or community. The data entered by the schools and communities will directly be linked to the UWICE database which will allow for the study on phenological changes of temperature, snowfall and rainfall events among others.

“We feel that such an initiative will be able to inculcate environmental knowledge to the young minds of the country,” said Sangay Wangchuk, adding that it is a long term program.

He said the UWICE is exploring potential donor agencies to fund the project.

The program was endorsed during the second sitting of the Board of Governors of the UWICE. During the meeting, the board instructed the institute to collaborate with the Ministry of Health (MoH) as the ministry already has a similar system to monitor health of communities in relation to the environment.

Apart from the HEROES program, the board also endorsed UWICE’s transition plan, establishment of ecological research preserves and expanding linkages.

Under the ecological preserves, researchers of UWICE will monitor animal populations through the deployment of camera traps at different altitudes.

This Article was published in Business Bhutan

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