What does one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots look, taste, smell and feel like? How are wildflowers and their pollinators threatened due to climate change in the Indian Himalayas? What’s blooming in the mountain meadows? How is the practice of wilderness conservation different in India than the U.S.? How does participating in field research as a citizen science make a difference? What is life like for communities in the “EcoZone” of the Great Himalaya National Park? Is ecotourism a viable solution for sustainable development? Will I get to see a snow leopard in the wild?
These are some of the questions I am seeking to answer from my forthcoming trip to India in April.
I’ll be traveling with Earthwatch Institute on their “Butterflies and Bees in the Indian Himalayas” Expedition. For 12 days I’ll conduct field research in the Upper Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh. This particular scientific study looks at how the decline in native plants, due to climate change and agricultural pesticides, are affecting pollinator populations. I’ll spend long days walking the edge of the “roof of the world” identifying pollinators and sampling flora. My idea of fun!
Following this, I’ll be visiting the Great Himalayan National Park. Snow leopards call GHNP their home. Peter Matthiessen, author of the beautiful book The Snow Leopard, spent a couple months in the company of an expert biologist high in the mountains of Tibet and Nepal for the sole purpose of observing snow leopards. He didn’t see one. I can hope anyway. What I am sure to see is a plethora of the less charismatic but essential flora and fauna that make this one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
I look forward to collecting incredible stories and photos and sharing the journey with you.