Stars and STEM Stories
Learning Expedition in Nepal
From 10-16 September, participants came together for a six-day GLOBE Learning Expedition in the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal. The 38 participants (which included scientists, students, and researchers) from India, Nepal, Oman, and Thailand, came together to gain an understanding of the effects of variability and climate on the region and to also engage in field studies using GLOBE protocols. Both Kathmandu and Lake Phewa in Pokhara provided a rich environment for scientific discovery on a variety of topics and environmental conditions.
“During the six-day event, participants collected a variety of data: including current temperature, pH, turbidity and conductivity, cloud type and cover, and soil temperature and texture. Participants discussed the importance of updated GLOBE protocols and impacts on the local environment that come from engaging in a focused study of the atmosphere. They also learned how to upload data to the GLOBE website,” said Dr. Desh Bandhu, who is the GLOBE Asia and Pacific Regional Coordinator.
The first day of the expedition began with the group traveling by bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Along the way, the group stopped at the small town of Maleku to initiate field studies using hydrology protocols on the Trishuli River.
Bandhu added: “Along the Trishuli River, participants discussed their study’s impact on the local environment and the importance of following scientific protocols.”
The group also observed and discussed the biotic life and environmental conditions near the river’s periphery. While continuing to travel, participants learned how variations in topography and vegetation impacted various villages differently. After a long day of scientific discovery, the group arrived in Pokhara in the early evening.
The following morning, the group continued their journey to Lake Phewa. At the lake, participants took four hydrological parameters of water samples: temperature, turbidity, conductivity, and pH. They then journeyed on to Mahendra Cave, to see first-hand how water carves its way deep into the Earth.
“This really aided our understanding of the geology and morphology of soil structure,” said Bandhu.
Participants then visited Devi's Fall – where the water cascades from Lake Phewa to Gupteshwor Cave.
Back in Pokhara, the participants visited the International Mountaineering Museum, which provided first-hand accounts of climate in the Himalayas and its impact on the people living within the region. There, the participants also viewed a documentary about the life of the Sherpas (a tribal community living in the Himalayas). This video helped the group to understand the culture of Himalayan people living in the harsh climate of the high hills.
Upon returning back to Kathmandu, the group visited the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
Mr. Faisal Mueen Qamar of ICIMOD shared his insights on the correlation between geographic information systems (GIS) and the local environment and the use of said technology for environmental data collection and studying changing patterns.
“Visiting the museum helped the participants to increase their knowledge and understanding about GIS and geospatial tools,” said Bandhu.
The group also visited ICIMOD’s Knowledge Park at Godavari where they were provided with an opportunity to study the ecosystems inside the park. A guide provided information on the plants of the park, environmental activities and sustainable livelihood.
“The event program provided a unique opportunity to the GLOBE schools of India, Nepal, Thailand, and Oman to actively participate and understand GLOBE protocols. It also provided a large platform for students to share their GLOBE activities and projects, the status of the GLOBE Program in their respective schools, and defining characteristics of their varying cultures," concluded Bandhu.
The expedition was organized by the GLOBE Regional Coordination Office for Asia and the Pacific, who partnered with the Indian Environmental Society (IES) in collaboration with the Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA).
GLOBE Star and images contributed by Dr. Desh Bandhu, GLOBE Asia and Pacific Regional Coordinator and Yogendra Chitrakar, Executive Director, ECCA Nepal.