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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Report on Nature Guide Training

Held in Sairopa Training center,

Great Himalayan National Park

July 10th to July 14th 2008

Submitted by

Ankit Sood

Lecturer Tours and Travels

Govt. PG College Kullu


Mr. Harsh Mitter (IFS)

Director ECOSOC

Himachal Pradesh

Supported by

Sunshine Himalayan Adventures and BTCA ( Biodiversity Tourism and Community Advancement)

Objectives of the training:

Linkage with Biodiversity Conservation

Our rationale for investing in a community is allied with our primary objective of conserving the Great Himalayan National Park and its biodiversity. This linkage is constantly reinforced during village mobilization and planning meetings, so that it becomes associated with the ecotourism activities being supported by the HPFD.

Reciprocal Contribution

All stakeholders (villager, nongovernmental organization, or government) must make a reciprocal contribution, within their means, to compliment that being made by the Forest Department . In the case of this training a small all the members of the Trekking Club have contributed Rs 35000 as seed money. This may be in the form of cash or in-kind services such as materials and labor, which are valued using existing market rates and prices.


There must be strong commitment to active and equitable participation from each involved stakeholder group through the life of the project, from planning to implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The ecotourism activities should benefit as many individuals and households as possible, and be sensitive to matters of ethnic or economic equity and gender.


The beneficiary community must be willing to assume all or significant responsibility for repairing and maintaining any infrastructural improvements provided by the HPFD. This usually means maintaining the biodiversity.

Monitoring & Evaluation

The stakeholders should be willing to employ simple but realistic indicators for measuring project performance and impact, according to a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (part of the overall Action Plan).

*HPFD : Himachal Pradesh Forest Department

* Ecosoc : Ecotourism Society of Himachal Pradesh

* Guidelines adopted from the training given by the Snow Leopard conservancy






General Facts


Mohar Singh




Experienced and President of the Club

Has done MOI in 2004


Ramesh Chand




Computer Education, Resourceful, Limited tourism Exposure


Tek Ram




Political Contacts


Bhavani Sharma


Bsc Ist Year ,


Financial Capability , Treasurer of the club , well exposed and can speak to Tourists ,Contact Point , Has computer


Ram Singh






Lal Singh




Limited Trekking Experience


Jai Ram




Limited Trekking Experience








Ved Prakash



Experienced Cook, has worked with Christopher for the last two year, Khem Bharti as well , Trekking Experience


Prem Singh


+1 Pass ,


Interested in cooking, shows potential , Previous trekking Experience


Mahendear Singh




Youngest member , Interested in becoming helper and then a cook


Dhani Ram




Good Trekking Experience


Ses Ram


5th Class




Jai Singh


9th Class


Interested in cooking, is young shows limited potential


Ram Singh






Bhag Singh



Dhara Shilinga



Pritam Singh



Immense Trekking Experience, very strong , good insight into flora and fauna , good knowledge about research


A+ : Potential to become good guide / Trek leader E: Entrepreneur P : porter and Helpers C : Cooks


The training took a hand on approach. The first day began with an introduction session about the club and its members. After due introduction was given the participants were asked to write what their expectations and fears were from the workshop. As expectations they wanted the workshop to be

  1. Giving them knowledge about ecotourism
  2. About the park
  3. About the ways to earn money through ecotourism
  4. About trekking
  5. To attach themselves with Sunshine Himalayan Adventures and other people bringing tourists and to be able to run their groups

As their main fears came

  1. Lack of Knowledge
  2. Budget
  3. Non availability of equipment etc. These fears were mainly towards the organization themselves and not the training in general.

The program started with

Lecture I – About the Great Himalayan national Park: Difference between WLS and National Park, its history

About its flora and Fauna (meaning of the words flora and fauna)

About the geography of the park.: its valleys, Altitudes etc.

A film entitled "Voices and Choices in the Great Himalayan national Park was shown with pauses and detailed scene explanation

PRACTICAL I Exercise more about the flora and fauna of the park

  1. List of twenty famous animals and birds. : an exercise was done whereby the sound of the bird was played which was recognized by the participants, the local name was told with a typical characteristic and then they were told the English name along with the picture of that bird. Similarly about twenty animals and 10 medicinal herb species

The evening session started with the discussion of the club, how it was formed, what were the objectives? The participants were told about the basics of having an adventure club. An exercise about having a clear address and clear budget was done.

Day 02

The Second days initial lecture dealt with Trekking in the national park . The participants were told about all the treks. How to explain treks to tourists. Basics including altitude, zonal flora and fauna, preparation of itinerary and using the GHNP map as a base for marketing their treks. This was led by a map reading class. The importance of maps , its uses and an insight into the GHNP map.

The role of local community in ecotourism. Roles, Duties and responsibilities of guides, helpers, porters and trek leaders.

The practical session in today's day consisted of a Rappelling demonstration as its one of the main activities involved in trekking as well as mountaineering. The participants were introduced to technical equipment, its uses and how to use. The practiced Knots, safety procedures while rappelling and then were finally made to experience the thrill of Rappelling on their own. In this way the participants actively tied knots, harnessed and used their new found skills to rappel all their fellow trainees.

The evening session looked after trekking procedures. The experience between the SAHARA staff and personal trekking experience was told. Right from the time the group enters into the park to the time they leave each step was covered in detail primarily focusing on the duty of the Group Leader.

The movie of the Uttaranchal Forest Department about their experiment in the "Valley of Flowers : was shown educating the participants about the importance of keeping their environment clean.

The night class initiated discussion about their own organization: aspects like marketing, financial management, book keeping and the role of the office bearers were discussed in full detail.

Day 03 :

The trekking procedures were dealt in detail. Procedures regarding

  1. Hygiene
  2. Campsite Management
  3. Rules of packing it in and packing it out
  4. Pitching of tents, selection of campsite and toilet areas
  5. Trekking equipment, its types and uses were discussed.

Movie on global warming called "Inconvenient Truth" was shown in Hindi language.

The practical session consisted of listing local resources that may be of tourist interest. This included food items, handicrafts and other local direct usage items in the tours conducted by them. A kit list was prepared which should be with every trekking member. More exercises about the common problems faced in trekking were discussed.

A lecture on first aid , its importance, interaction with wild animals, do's and don'ts in the park were discussed. Each problem or accident and what to do in its happening was also discussed. A first aid kit was discussed in detail . Rescue and severe accidents were also dealt with.

More exercises on bird watching were done. A movie from RSBP was shown signifying the importance of fauna in the great Himalayan National Park. Common birds of the GHNP were discussed.

Evening session dealt with their organization, its mission statement, objectives and goals so that the participants were absolutely clear in their minds about the objectives. A detailed budgeting was done including the sources of revenue generation, expenses in equipment and other infrastructure. Means to get more training flowed.

Day 04 :

The fourth day began with the Trekking equipment and its maintenance. Store Keeping etc were discussed in detail.

Details of common equipment like sleeping bags, rucksacks, tents, toilet tents, kitchen equipment etc were given

A class was taken by "Mr. Payson R Stevens" who did a LFA of their club. Its need to get more experience in practical trekking procedures and the expectations of a westerner. He also told them how an organization can grow. A simple test about recognizing the bird calls was also taken.

Food : Its hygienic preparation. Water and hygiene were all discussed. A common menu in practice was discussed for a five day trek. Local food items that could be included in the common menu giving people a taste of Himachal was discussed. The cook also showed them basic preparation of meals .

A 54 minute movie entitled "Valley of Gods" was shown in detail so that the people may see what a trekking trip entails. The movie had been made to the source of the Tirthan River and a mountaineering expedition to an unclimbed peak named CHakri. Being from the same valley the participants thoroughly enjoyed it and came out with more suggestions about trekking.

A river crossing and traverse session was done in full detail including safety procedures, uses of equipment, do's and don't's etc.

A detailed exercise about the participants and their SWOT analysis was done keeping in view their experience, age, area of interest etc.

Day 05 :

A yoga session was taken by a Yoga guru " Mr. Raman Jain from the GDC , Banjar. He told the importance of good hygienic living , practicing yoga therapy when tired , common body aches of in the trekking and how to over some them through regular exercise. A few important asana like Anlom Vilom, Bhrastika were told and practiced.

A class on the Biodiversity especially Flora was taken by the Deputy Director GHNP Mr. Labh Singh. He emphasized how the flora is an indication to altitude, about trekking do's and don'ts regarding GHNP and the treks of the GHNP in detail.

Lessons learnt with working with SAHARA. What works and what does not were discussed in detail. The best practices which were learnt with the SAHARA were told and ways were discussed on how can the new trekking club incorporate the same.

There was a lot of homework which was given regarding their training. This was principally to practice things we had learnt in the training, getting equipment and material together and ways for them to gain more experience.