Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Activity Update April 2018: Pench Maharashtra


Nature education class at Awleghat school

These lantana hairpins were made by women in Chargaon.
They have been bought by a Bengaluru agency.

Chargaon - meeting of villagers and Forest Department staff
to discuss forest and wildlife conservation issues

Chargaon villagers displaying lantana products they've made
Dr Zanzal at our free health camp at Dhaulapur

Ghoti - Azolla tank set up to provide nutritious fodder for livestock

Ghoti: New waterhole dug by our volunteers
Kadbikheda: our Field Assistant Dilip talks to villagers about
fire prevention 
Khapa - Field Assistant explains the importance of trees on a nature trail

Khursapar gate: our interns explain the benefits of wildlife tourism
to guides, drivers and Forest Department staff

Mahekepar: Field Assistant Bandu motivated villagers to restart
the inactive Village EcoDevelopment Committee

Volunteers clean a waterhole in the park

Our volunteers patrolling the Saleghat beat with our staff

Our team Bandu and Balkrishna assist in putting out a forest fire

Shiladevi students learn about computers 

Surewani gate: Our interns discuss the benefits of wildlife tourism wiith
guides, drivers and villagers


Team: Abhijit Dutta – Assistant Director (Conservation)
Bandu Uikey – Assistant Conservation Officer
            Dilip Lanjewar, Balkrishna Bagmare – Field assistants

·      Five community patrols
·      Assisted in fighting fires in forest twice
·      One new waterhole built, one existing waterhole cleaned and de-silted
·       Two village eco-development committees (VEDCs) re-activated
·      Workshop on forest protection and forest fire prevention at Chargaon
·      One meeting on forest fire prevention at Kadbikheda
·      One meeting on organic farming at Khapa
·      Earth Day awareness program on 22nd April at Siladevi
·      Two nature trails
·      Six school education programs with 126 student participating
·      Weekly IT education classes at Sawara and Siladevi
·      Marketing assistance to lantana craft artisans
·      Two youths sent to Forest dept.’s organic farming workshop
·      Follow-up of candidates sent for driver’s training program
·      Six free medical camps, 137 patients treated
·      Research on ‘Assessing benefits of wildlife tourism for communities and conservation in Tiger Reserves of Vidarbha’

Conservation Action and Awareness

On April 29, Bandu and Abhijit saw smoke coming out from the forest behind Wanera village. As the area is inaccessible by road, Bandu immediately informed the Forest Department staff at Narhar check-post about the fire and they sent a wireless message to Nagalwadi Range Office.

On the same day, the villagers at Siladevi informed us about a massive forest fire behind their village. Bandu, Balkrishna and Abhijit went to douse of the fire with some villagers and informed the Forest Department staff who later arrived with blowers to extinguish the fire.

A similar incident happened in Salai beat on April 23, where Dilip helped the Forest Department staff in dousing a forest fire.

On April 14, a water hole was cleaned and de-silted in compartment no. 659 in Saleghat beat.

A new waterhole was constructed near Ghoti village for birds and smaller wildlife on April 16. The waterholes are of great help to wildlife especially in the summer months due to water scarcity.

On April 4, Bandu helped in the re-activation of the VEDC at Mehkepar, Kolitmara which was inactive for a few months. Bandu helped in mobilizing villagers to elect new members for the VEDC and motivated them to work and take full benefit of government schemes so that pressure on the forests is reduced. RFO West Pench, forest guards and villagers were present during the re-activation.

A similar program was conducted by Bandu to re-activate Surera VEDC in Kolitmara on April 10.

Dilip organised an awareness programme on preventing forest fires with VEDC members and villagers of Kadbikheda on April 13.

On April 8, Dilip organised an awareness programme on organic farming at Khapa.

A workshop on forest protection and forest fire prevention was organised in Chargaon which was attended by RFO Nagalwadi, VEDC presidents of Chargaon and Suwardhara and villagers. The villagers were shown a movie on forest protection and fire fighting and were encouraged to take action on forest protection by RFO, Nagalwadi.

Five community patrolling programs were organised in Saleghat, Siladevi, Wagholi and Khapa. Such patrolling helps in checking illegal activities around villages through community participation. A night foot patrol was carried out in Siladevi after a forest fire incident on the same day.

On April 22, Earth Day was celebrated with school students in Siladevi. They were taken for a nature trail and were taught the importance of conserving the local village forests and the benefits they provide in the form of watershed and biodiversity. Dilip organised similar nature trails for students in Khapa and Ghoti.

An Azolla cattle feed tank set up last month at Ghoti showed results with the tank full with Azolla this month. Azolla helps cattle and poultry with improved quality of feed.

On April 5, Bandu helped in submission of 15 names to Gram Panchayat for new cooking gas connection under PM Ujjwala Yojna for Ghatpendari village. The connections will help in reducing dependence on local forests for fuel wood.

Environment Education

School Education Programs

In the month of April, a total of six school education programs were conducted by our team in which students were given lectures on man-animal conflict, biodiversity conservation, climate change and other issues related to nature conservation. 
A total of 126 students attended these programmes.

IT Education Program

Satpuda Foundation has donated desktops as well as laptops to the Zilla Parishad School in Sawara village and has been conducting IT education program for the students free of cost since 2013. Basic computer skills are taught to the students to make them feel comfortable with technology and improve their IT skills. Sita Uikey, a resident of Sawara village works on an honorarium basis for Satpuda Foundation to impart IT education to the students. Four such classes were held in April in ZP School, Sawara.

This programme has been extended to Siladevi village where the IT Education program was inaugurated in ZP School Siladevi in March 2018. A new Raspberry-pi system was donated by Sushant Kudagi from Karnataka through Satpuda Foundation. Four classes were held in April in ZP School, Siladevi.

Employment Cell

Satpuda Foundation helped in creating a market linkage for lantana craft artisans of Pench Tiger Reserve with ‘Ragi Kana’, a weekly rural display market in Bengaluru. Raghu, who is associated with ‘Ragi-kana’ had placed some orders on test basis from three craftsmen in Pench Tiger Reserve. The craftsmen completed the order and sent the products to Bengaluru. Depending on the demand for these products in Bengaluru, further orders may be placed for various lantana products. The artisans were encouraged to display and sell their lantana items at Bhivsen mela which is a popular annual mela in Parseoni region attended by thousands of people.

Two youths from Ghatpendari village were encouraged to participate in a one-day organic farming training workshop organised by the Forest Department in Surewani on 18th April. They learnt techniques of organic farming, how to grow vegetables with maximum output and the importance of pesticide- and chemical fertilizer-free farming. The two youths have pledged to practice organic farming in the next agricultural cycle.

Forest Department’s Organic Farming Workshop

Satpuda Foundation had helped the Forest Department in mobilizing, selecting and sending candidates for a driver’s training program funded by BCRLIP in September 2017. As the candidates have already completed the training and some of them have cleared the RTO tests, Satpuda Foundation followed up to know about their job placements. Our field team regularly meets these candidates and mentors and encourages those who are still unemployed to take up jobs. We have listed out the youths who have not cleared the RTO exams and planned a one-day workshop to train them to handle the computer-based RTO tests as most of the candidates lack basic computing skills.

Follow-up of youths sent for Driver Training Program funded by BCRLIP during September 2017

Mobile Health Service (MHS)

There were six medical camps in April in which 137 patients were treated.


Two interns have joined Satpuda Foundation to work on a project- ‘Assessing benefits of wildlife tourism for communities and conservation in Tiger Reserves of Vidarbha’, the final report of which will be produced in June 2018.

The interns are conducting structured/ unstructured interviews, group discussions and questionnaire surveys with tourist guides, drivers, gypsy owners, people from hospitality sector and villagers. They are also analyzing socio-economic surveys and data from Forest Department records to reach a conclusion as to how tourism is shaping the local economy and helping in conservation.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Activity Update April 2018: Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve


Volunteers cleaning a waterhole in the park

Volunteers cleaning a waterhole in the park

Conservation Officer Mukund helping to put out a forest fire
near Sara camp

Bhajepar - volunteers removing plastic trash from the area
adjoining the jungle

Bolunda - nature education class in Adilok High School
Jindatola - building a soak pit to help water conservation

Jindatola - women learning to make candles; part of our
initiative to promote alternative livelihoods

Mangezari - candles made by women after the training

Free health camp at Umarzari: Dr Anup Burade examines a patient


Mukund Dhurve         - Asst. Conservation Officer
Jivraj Salam                 - Field assistant
Surajlal Tekam            - Field assistant

·      Joined Forest Department staff on 3 patrols
·      5 community assistance voluntary work  – programs to clean area next to hand pumps
·      5 anti-plastic programmes
·      4 waterholes cleaned and de-silted
·      Organised 4 classroom environment education programmes in which 740 students were present
·      Organised 6 medical camps in which 186 patients got free treatment
·      Organised 3 village eco-development committee (VEDC) meetings
·      Celebrated World Earth Day on April 22 at Adilok High School, Bolunda in which 104 students and 5 teachers were present
·      Assisted in fighting fires in Sarra camp and Compartment no. 109


Our team organised 5 community assistance programs on April 3, 6, 7, 25 and 28 to clear areas around hand pumps at Bhajepar, Pitezari, Kodebarra, Mangezari and Jindatola. Unemployed youths from Mangezari participated in all programmes which were led by Mukund and Jivraj.

Details of the programmes are given in the table above.

Water had spilled over while people drew from the hand pumps and had stagnated, leading to proliferation of mosquitoes and insects. Our teams cleared the area, removing scum and organic growth and dug canals to drain away the water.

Our team joined the Forest Department in day and night patrols in Comp. no. 109, 114 and on the road linking Mangezari and Kodebarra. Besides our staff, volunteers from a youth club at Mangezari also joined in the patrols. The youth club was set up with our assistance and is mentored by our Conservation Officer Mukund Dhurve.     

During the month, our team organised 5 anti-plastic programmes to clean polythene/plastic litter from villages. The programmes were organised on April 3, 6, 7, 25 and 28 at Bhajepar, Pitezari, Kodebarra, Mangezari and Jindatola villages respectively. Mukund and Jivraj organised the programmes which were attended by villagers and village eco-development committee (VEDC) members. The plastic litter has been kept in our Mangezari office and will be sent to Tiroda for recycling.

The Government of Maharashtra has issued the buffer zone notification for the Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve. Following this, doubts have sprung up in the minds of villagers as to how they will be affected by the notification. Due to the doubts, some villagers are opposing the notification. To clear these doubts and misgivings, we organised 3 awareness programmes during April in Thadezari, Pitezari and Umarzari.

On April 22, World Earth Day, we organised a programme at Adilok High School, Bolunda in which Mukund Dhurve spoke to the students about bio-diversity conservation.

During the month, our team assisted in fighting fires in the forest near Sarra camp and comp. no. 109.


There were 4 education programmes in April which were attended by 740 students.

Employment Cell activities

We helped 4 villagers in getting jobs during April.

Employment Cell Training activities

During April, we organised 2 programmes to train members of women’s SHGs in making candles. This will help them earn additional income and reduce their dependence on forests.

The first programme was at Mangezari and the second at Jindatola. Details are given below.

Mangezari programme:

Jindatola programme:

During April, we also sent 8 youths to be trained in data entry at the Mobile Livelihood Development Centre at Goregaon run by Yuva Parivartan- National Skill Development Corporation.

Mobile Health Service (MHS)

There were 6 health camps in April.