I am a wildlife researcher and conservationist qualified with an M.Sc. in Forestry. I work with a number of species from birds and crocodiles to leopards and himalayan black bear.
I am seeking funds so as to help finance forest conservation activities in the Private Forests of the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates.
Where on Earth are the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates?
A Brief History
The Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates are located in the western Himalayan state of Uttarahand in the district of Pauri Garhwal in India at an altitude range from 1000m to 2050m.
These estates initially belonged to the British East India Company and were managed as tea estates. They were sold to Bishop James Mills Thoburn who in turn sold a portion of the Gadoli Fee Simple Estate and all of Manda Khal Fee Simple Estate to Rev. David Albert Chowfin in 1903. I am the great - grandson of Rev. David Albert Chowfin and the son of Trevor Harry Chowfin. My late father was a Lt. Commander and a Fleet Air Arm Fighter Pilot of the Indian Navy.
About the Forests
The private forests of the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates are not just any forest. They are a part of an Endangered Eco-Region and lie within the Western Himalayan Endemic Bird Area and are home to the Himalayan Black Bear, the Leopard and the Barking Deer as well as myriad species of birds, butterflies and moths.
The forests in this landscape are made up of oaks, pines and mixed forests which are a storehouse of himalayan ferns, mosses and grass. They are also a source of eight perennial springs.
These forests have been plundered by land sharks and forest fires in the past and so The Gadoli and Manda Khal Wildlife Conservation Trust was established with an aim to conserve, protect, preserve and restore forests in the landscape.
The Trust is a non-government, non-profit registered Trust and I am one of the Trustees. However, our only source of funding is my late father's defense pension which is not enough to meet the Trust's goals and activities of conservation and preservation of these forests.
As a Trustee, I am now seeking funds for the following activities:
(1) Fire Risk Mitigation
The forest areas in the region have seen an immense rise in forest fires which have damaged hundreds of hectares of pristine forests. To safeguard these forests and this landscape I propose to establish forest patrol teams made up of unemployed youth from the local communities who will be paid for their services. These forest patrol teams will work to locate and inform on forest fires in the landscape.This will serve a two-fold purpose as local unemployed youth will now earn a salary and also help in reducing the risk of forest fires. This will also enhance ecosystem services like water provisioning through aquifer recharge as well as being important mitigation measures in preserving forest resilience for local climate regulation acting as a buffer to climate effects.
(2) Community Forest Nursery
To restore destroyed and degraded forests I will establish a community nursery with native forest trees, grasses and fodder species with manpower being sourced from the local communities serving the dual purpose of conservation and employment generation. I intend to employ local village women to collect seeds and manage and work these nurseries thus providing them with employment and much needed finance.
(3) Nature Awareness and Education Campaigns
There is a great lack of understanding by local communities on the role they play in the preservation and conservation of their natural resources. I wish to establish a Mobile Education Van that will travel through the landscape to interact with and educate school children on the importance of forests and wild flora and fauna through presentations, nature and bird watching walks and pictorial presentations .I will also interact with local communities to understand their perceptions and the hardships they face as mountain village communities and help plan their involvement in the protection, conservation and preservation of their natural resources.
To achieve and implement these activities in the landscape I need your help in securing finances for:
(2) Nursery Equipment
(3) Equipment for forest patrols
(6) Walkie - Talkies
(7) Mobile Education Van
(9) Printing of nature awareness and educational material.
Nothing is too small and every dollar counts. For example when you spread the message to your community and if each person contributes 1 USD, then 500 people in your community will have contributed 500 USD which equals approximately 35000 Indian Rupees. This will enable me to pay one person @ INR 400 per day for 87 days for seed collection and nursery work or one person @ INR 700 per day for 50 days for forest patrolling. This is alot of money for people in my area who are at most times unemployed. So not only do you help save a forest you also help a person earn a livelihood.
Do spread the word to everyone in your locality. Shopping complexes, super marts, schools, colleges, fuel stations.
Please feel free to contact me and see what your finances have helped me achieve.
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