An Annual Workshop on Bhutan Phenology Observation

Focal teachers from 17 different schools who are involved in the Bhutan Phenology Observation program attended the workshop in Punakha. The three-day workshop is organized by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE), in collaboration with MoE( Ministry of Education), as part of HEROES (Himalayan Environmental Rhythms Observation and Evaluation Systems) project. The Director of the Institute, in his keynote address, stressed the importance of promoting enquiry based learning as part of holistic education system in schools. Phenology, by nature, is one of ways to connect students to nature and promote exploratory nature-based learning.

The annual workshop is organized to bring all the stakeholders to deliberate and discuss status, issues and way forward in implementing the project in schools. During the course of deliberation, the participants strategized ways to institutionalized the program to ensure its sustainability and maximize its impact.

The project is in its fourth year of its implementation. Since then, it has generated substantial baseline data on climate and plants life cycle from seventeen schools across different ecological region of Bhutan. In addition, the project has been very instrumental in educating students on climate changes and its impact. Every year twenty to forty students get engaged in monitoring plants life cycles and its changes. To facilitate observation, data recording and learning, the project has launched mobile apps (heroes). From this year onwards, the students and focal teachers can use mobile application to collect, records and submit observation data. As climate change study require data spanning over decades to have any evidence based findings, it require long term commitment and engagement from stakeholders. The need to mainstream the program in the relevant agencies has been realized as one of top priority.   

The workshop is also attended by the Deputy Chief Program Officer, Department of School Education, Ministry of Education (MoE) and Program Director, Bhutan Foundation.