Monday, January 21, 2019

Activity Update December 2018: Pench Maharashtra


Chorbahuli - Village children learn about threats to wildlife
 during our nature camp 

Chorbahuli- A student refers to book on birds
(published by us) during our nature camp 

Chorbahuli- Abhijit conducts a nature game for students
during our nature camp

Ghoti - Volunteers dig a waterhole for wildlife

Khudsapar - Villagers learn the process of mushroom cultivation 

 Villagers register for treatment at our free medical camp, Kirangisarra

Kolitmara - Guides attend our personality development workshop

Kolitmara - Students, teachers, the RFO and our staff
pose for a group photo after our nature camp 

Sillari - Our colleague Mukund Dhurve briefs students during a nature trail

Surewani - Dilip interacts with villagers
while inspecting lantana removal work


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


·      Two community foot patrols
·      One waterhole prepared
·      One voluntary work project for cleaning area around well
·      Four surveys on solar power and community meetings on renewable energy
·      One meeting on Village Eco-Development Committee (VEDC) formation
·      One meeting with nature guides on improvement of eco-tourism
·      One nature trail for students; 24 students participated
·      Three celebrations to mark important days in the ‘eco-calendar’
·      25 villages visited for conducting field surveys for verification of lantana removal work under CSS (DBT Scheme of NTCA)
·      14 school education programs conducted; 319 students participated
·      13 residential nature camps jointly with Forest Department for buffer zone students; 40 students participated in each of these camps
·      One mushroom cultivation workshop conducted at Khudsapar
·      One personality development workshop conducted at Kolitmara for guides
·      One livelihood meeting with women’s self-help group (SHG)
·      Six free medical camps, 187 patients treated
·      One research project on snakes underway

Conservation Action and Awareness

On December 9, Dilip and a team of 6 villagers constructed a waterhole near Ghoti village. Wild animals traverse large distances for water after the monsoon season due to water scarcity. The construction of such waterholes ensures water is available at the spot throughout the year for the animals.

On December 30, Balkrishna motivated villagers to volunteer for a program to clean the area around a well in Awaleghat. Such cleanliness drives ensure that the cattle or villagers don’t suffer from any illness due to water stagnation. It also helps prevent contraction and possible spreading of any disease from livestock to wildlife.

On December 25, Balkrishna led a team of three Village Eco-development Committee (VEDC) members from Shiladevi village on a foot patrol in the forest area near their village. The VEDC members checked for signs of illegal tree felling or poaching during the patrol. No signs of illegal activities were detected. These community-based patrols are supplemental to the regular patrols being done by the Forest Department.

Balkrishna joined Forest Department staff on a foot patrol in the Suwardhara beat on December 23.

On December 5, World Soil Day was celebrated in Chorbahuli. During a nature trail, Abhijit and Forest Guard Dinesh Itwale explained to the students about the importance of soil and the soil formation procedure. The students were encouraged to take up soil conservation activities back in their village.

On December 14, Dilip organised a meeting in Garra to make the villagers aware about the formation process and benefits of village eco-development committee (VEDC). Dilip read out the Government Resolution (GR) and explained how VEDC formation in some villages has helped in village development and in reduction of conflict through funds utilised from Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Jan-Van Yojna.

On December 8, Balkrishna organised a survey on solar power and a villagers’ meeting on renewable energy in Saleghat Village. Balkrishna and Shreyas from Gramoorja, an organisation that works on renewable energy options, surveyed the village for possible solar-powered interventions related to livelihood, education, water, agriculture, etc. They interacted with the villagers and explained the benefits of renewable energy.

Similar surveys were carried out in Shiladevi, Ghatkukda and Kolitmara on December 8 and December 9.

On December 14, Abhijit organised a meeting with nature guides to discuss improvements in the existing eco-tourism model and to stress the importance of ecotourism in conservation. All nature guides from the Kolitmara gate attended the meeting.

The guides made suggestions for improving the ecotourism at the gate. They also asked us to organise a workshop on personality development. They were of the view that a nature trail or a bird-watching trail should be developed as Kolitmara’s unique selling point is bird sightings.

All these points were conveyed to the Deputy Director of Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) by Satpuda Foundation.  

Balkrishna conducted a nature trail program for school children of Ghatpendari on December 15. He explained about the importance of conserving local flora and fauna and their role in wildlife conservation. He explained to the students about spiders, their dwelling, types of spiders and how spiders are useful to humans.

In December, the Pench Tiger Reserve administration entrusted Satpuda Foundation with the responsibility of verifying the lantana removal work in the area. The task was to carry out evaluation of lantana removal work under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme or the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme of the NTCA. Abhijit, Dilip and Balkrishna visited 25 villages and interacted with the villagers, 'vanmajurs' and Forest Guards to verify the work done.

Environment Education

In December, a total of 14 school education programs were conducted by Balkrishna in which students were given lectures on man-animal conflict, biodiversity conservation, climate change and other issues related to nature conservation. 
A total of 319 students attended these programs.

School Education Programs

Satpuda Foundation (SF) was asked by the Pench Tiger Reserve Conservation Foundation (PTCF) to conduct 15 residential nature camps for 600 students from schools in villages in the buffer zone of Pench Tiger Reserve. We acted as the resource persons and took students on jungle safaris, organised nature trails, nature games, lectures and presentations, etc., to sensitise the children about nature and wildlife.

The inaugural program, on November 28, was attended by Ms. Neenu Somraj, Deputy Director of Pench Tiger Reserve. The concluding program was conducted on December 20, and was attended by Dr. Ravikiran Govekar, Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director of Pench Tiger Reserve.
Two programs were conducted in November and 13 were conducted in December.

Residential Nature Education Camps (PTCF-SF Nisarganubhav Shibir 2018)

Employment Cell

Nature Guide Personality Development Training for Nature Guides at Kolitmara:

Satpuda Foundation conducted a one-day “Nature Guide Personality Development Training” for nature guides of Kolitmara, Khubala and Nagalwadi gates of Pench Tiger Reserve on December 24.  Around 25 guides from the three gates participated in this workshop. The resource person for this training was Kunal Sharma from Chennai, Technical Expert, GIZ India, and ex-ecotourism consultant.

The aim of this program was to induce behavioral change in nature guides, which will enable the guides to interact with tourists in a professional way and will encourage them to educate the tourists through story-telling.

The module for the training workshop included the following:

The guides expressed their satisfaction after completion of this workshop and thanked Satpuda Foundation for organizing such a workshop just before the start of the New Year. Certificates were distributed to the participants by the Range Forest Officer (West Pench), Ms. Ankita Telang at the end of the workshop.

Mushroom cultivation Training for villagers at Khudsapar:

On December 25, a training program on cultivation of mushrooms was conducted at Khudsapar by Satpuda Foundation and VEDC Khudsapar. Villagers from Khudsapar, Bandra, Garra and Thuyepani attended this workshop.

The trainer, Abhimanyu Rao, from Sky Mushrooms, Nagpur gave theoretical and practical inputs on mushroom cultivation and marketing. Range Forest Officer (Deolapar), Mr. Praveen Sathawane was present during the workshop to encourage the villagers.

On December 16, Balkrishna conducted a meeting with SHG members in Ghatpendari. He discussed cloth bag and paper bag making initiatives with the SHG members.

Mobile Health Service (MHS)

Six free medical camps held in December in which 187 patients were treated.


A field survey on recording snakes, incidence of sighting them and incidence of snake bites in buffer zone villages is currently underway. This study will help us in preparing a checklist of snakes for Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra and will also help in noting the snake species that are more prone to come into contact with humans. The study will conclude in January 2019.

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