Every Bhutan program with The School for Field Studies, whether it is a full semester or summer, concludes with the final presentation of directed research findings by our students to an audience of officials from the Department of Forest and Park Services, researchers, staff, and forest trainee students of UWICER.
From the morning of 7th July, our students donned their Bhutanese national dress of Gho and Kira, looking brilliant, official, and ready for the big day. Everyone was busy making full use of their time practicing their presentations again and again. Our students were divided into five groups with different topics such as:
1. Biophysical aspects of community forest in Namdrupcholing and Domkhar
2. Social aspects of community forest in Namdrupcholing and Domkhar
3. Gender in agricultural knowledge transfer
4. Human wildlife conflict and rural-urban migration &
5. Affective relationships and park governance
Every group was given 15 minutes for the presentation and then 5 minutes for the Q&A session. My job for the day, as in every past semester, was taking the responsibility of MC where I introduced all presenters, controlled the presentation, and moderated the Q&A session.
The guest of honor, our UWICER Officiating Director and other esteemed guests were all impressed with the findings that our students presented to the large gathering within the short period of directed research time. Remarkable findings included a camera-trap picture of a red fox with the legs of frog sticking out of his mouth and a pack of Asiatic wild dogs (more endangered than tigers in Bhutan!) playing in the dirt road at the research sites.
The symposium concluded to resounding applause, as all who were present were so appreciative of the hard work our great students had done in such a short time and their impressive answers to the many questions from the floor.
All photos courtesy of Casey Kohn