The Bhutan Ecological Society (BES) successfully hosted its Second Annual Research Symposium & Environmental Fair on 21-23 August in Thimphu, Bhutan. The 3-day education and outreach programme drew large crowds and great public interest, thanks to the support and active participation of Thimphu schools and 25 organizations including universities, government agencies, green businesses and CSOs.
His Excellency, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, opened the programme on 21 August with a welcome speech emphasizing the importance of economic growth hand-in-hand with protecting the intact ecosystems that Bhutan’s forefathers gifted to all future generations. During its 2014 Annual General Meeting that day, the Society inaugurated the new members of its five Working Committees: Science & Policy, Publications, Outreach & Education, Universities Liaison, and Awards. With the formal establishment of these committees, BES seeks to actively integrate across sectors for the stewardship of Bhutan’s natural environment.
The next day, a full-day research symposium featured talks by 20 participants and two primary schools. Children from Early Learning Centre, Thimphu, and from Jigme Losel Primary School, gave presentations on how they are practicing environmental conservation on a daily basis in their homes and schools. The day’s programme also included a morning poster session, with participants answering questions about their conservation work in Bhutan. For student research talks, 1st place award was given to Tenzin and 2nd place to Kezang Gaden, both from Sherubtse College. Best student poster was awarded to Tashi, a 2014 graduate of the College of Natural Resources.
The final day of the programme was held in Clock Tower Square, on 23 August, with BES President Dasho Paljor J. Dorji inspiring a crowd of more than 500 to take individual responsibility for protecting our environment. Throughout the day, families and children enjoyed hands-on environmental art projects; life-sized displays of animals; recycled art demonstrations by school children; interactive wildlife research exhibitions; educational games; and all-day singing and dance performances. In the evening, BES sponsored an open-air screening of local environmental films.
The Bhutan Ecological Society was started in 2010 by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment. Under the active leadership of its President Dasho Paljor J. Dorji and Royal Patron HRH Ashi Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, BES has grown to become a consortium of more than 600 members from 9 countries, with a common vision for an environmentally sustainable future. Bhutan Foundation has been the primary sponsor for the Society since the inception of BES. More information about the Society and its programs are available at http://www.bhutanecologicalsociety.org.bt.