World Environment Day 2017 celebrations culminate at Central-Zoo

Celebrations at this year's World Environment Day (WED 2017) saw the coming together of large numbers of conservation representatives, well wishers and youths impassioned in building cause for the country's nature and biodiversity status. More than 3200 people were part of the annual global event on June 5 organized at the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel. Marked under the national theme: "प्रकृतिसँग हाम्रो सम्बन्ध; रहिरहोस अनन्त" (T: Our relationship to nature; may it last forever), an environmental rally took to the streets early under the slogan "I'm with Nature". 

WED rally led by Ms. Nepal 2017 and NTNC Biodiversity Conservation Ambassador (centre)

Jointly organized by the conservation partners—Lalitpur Metropolitan, NTNC, IUCN, WWF Nepal and BCN—participants at the event consisted mostly of schools students and teachers from over 50 schools from the ‘Friends of Zoo’ network (FoZ)—a popular program run by NTNC-Central Zoo presently engaging more than 120 schools and 6500 students in Kathmandu Valley toward wildlife and conservation related activities. Chief guest at the event, and the exceptionally renowned Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi (Culture Expert and Littérateur), along with special guest Mr. Chiri Babu Maharjan (recently elected Mayor of Lalitpur Municipality) handed over prizes across various categories and joined in the country-wide celebrations. At the event, the very newly crowned Miss Nepal 2017 and NTNC Biodiversity Conservation Ambassador, Ms. Nikita Chandak (along with Miss Nepal Asia Pacific Ms. Sahara Basnet) administered the mass oath-taking pledge aimed at building collective commitment to enrich the country’s spirit for nature, culture and biodiversity. Whereas the chief guest cautioned about the numerous facts and fault lines being currently witnessed in the ancient city of Lalitpur, the new Mayor expressed resolve to revive the city's rich cultural and environmental assets.

Newly elected Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City distributing prizes to FoZ students

Pre-event activities culminating to the main day event at the Central-Zoo had already begun weeks in advance, starting with the Nature Walk for students from 30 schools at Ranibari, Kathmandu on May 28. A similar walk event had been organized the previous day on May 27 in collaboration with the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) at the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park wherein the Hon. Minster for Environment also took part. Following thereafter, on June 1 a press meet was organized for journalists from 14 media houses along with representatives from NTNC, IUCN, WWF Nepal, BCN, and FoZ teacher's coordinators. On the same day, a banner competition on the WED international theme "Connecting People with Nature" was held among 23 FoZ school members followed by a drama competition on June 2 attended by more than 300 students and teachers. Winners/participants of all such events were therein honored at the main-day WED event.

FoZ students at the WED rally

Aimed at bringing conservation education to the fore of some of the major awareness building programs undertaken in the country, the WED event was jointly organized by the conservation partners under the coordination of NTNC-Central Zoo to inspire meaningful youth awareness. Besides the celebrations in Kathmandu Valley, various events marking the special occassion were likewise organized around different project sites of the Trust--in ACAP, MCAP, GCAP, BCC in Chitwan, BCP in Bardia and SCP in Sukhlaphanta.

Chief guest and Culture Expert Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi signing the new 'Cranes of Nepal' poster publication of BCN