Visit to Asan Barrage
2nd February – World Wetlands Day
A bird watching expedition toAsan Barrage was organized on 2nd Feb 2012 by the WWF-India in collaboration with the Uttarakhand Forest Department. Every year World Wetlands Day is celebrated the world over to mark the date of the signing of the convention on Wetlands, called Ramsar Convention (1971). The day is celebrated in order to increase awareness regarding the importance of conserving wetlands as they are necessary part of the environment. Asan Barrage Wetland Reserve is located 45 km from Dehradun on the road going to Paonta Sahib. It is recognized by BNHS (Bombay History Natural Soceity) Mumbai and Bird Life International.
The WWF-India invited 15 students and staff from each of the seven schools to celebrate this day. As per schedule all students and accompanying teachers reached at the southern banks of Asan lake at 10.30 am. Mr.Khaira, Mr Puri , Mr Sharma and boys of Bird Watching CCA & Nature club were part of this excursion. The first program was bird watching and identification of water birds floating in the lake. Nearly one and a half hour were spent in appreciating and enjoying the beautiful water birds. The students interacted with the forest officials and experts and learnt useful information on the birds sight. We were informed that officially 152 species of birds in this lake have been observed and recorded on this lake. Around 30 species migrate during winter months every year. The most popular, comprising 4% of the total species, is Ruddy Shelduck which is known as ‘Surkhav’ in Hindi. Some of other species we could observe were Cormorant, Heron, Intermediate Egret, Pintail, Common Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Palla’s Fish Eagle, Coot, Lapwing, King Fisher etc..
Next we all walked over the bridge and through a patch of forest to the main site of the Forest Rest House where rest of the programme were held. In the beginning students were encouraged to express and share their experience ,views, thoughts on white banners tied up between the trees. This was followed by another one hour program in the auditorium. Two short documentaries on the theme ‘Responsible Tourism supports Wetlands’were screened. This was followed by the release of WWF-India poster on ‘High Altitude Wetlands of Uttarakhand’by the Chief Conservator Of Forests,Garhwal Mr DVS Khati .The message of the poster was that everybody should to take responsibility for protecting their wetlands in order to secure water and other natural resources for future generations. Pamphlets and posters were distributed to the students and staff. In addition senior communications officer WWF-India talked about the Green Hiker campaign which aims to build awareness about responsible tourism among tourists. The whole program finished by 2.45 pm and lunch was served before we departed for school. After about an hour ‘s journey by bus we reached school at 5.00pm.