Bisht gets Hillary conservation Medal

- Post Report, KATHMANDU
Bisht gets Hillary conservation Medal

Mar 18, 2014-

Harshwanti Bisht, a leading mountaineer and conservationist from Uttarakhand in India, has been awarded with Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal (2014) for her more than two decades of contribution to protecting the Gangotri area in India from environmental degradation caused due to human activities.

Peter Hillary, son of late Sir Edmund Hillary, gave away the award on Monday to Bisht, who was also a member of the Indian expedition to Mount Everest in 1984.

The legacy medal was initiated in 2003 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest to recognise Hillary’s life-long commitment to the welfare of mountain people and their environment.

The award is being given away to people who have made significant contribution to the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions from across the globe.

During her expedition to Everest in 1984, Bisht came across various initiatives including construction of schools, hospitals and tourism activities undertaken by Edmund Hillary to empower the Sherpa communities both socially and economically. Edmund, along with friends, worked on uplifting the lives of Sherpa in the Everest region, who were living on the edge in lack of proper education, health and other economic opportunities.

“His works in Everest region inspired me to work in Gangotri, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites reeling

under severe threats from improper tourism activities and insensible human activities,” she said.

Gangotri area that includes the world’s biggest glacier Gangotri, was under severe environmental threat due to unregulated tourism and pilgrimage along with other human activities such as excessive consumption of fuelwood that led to severe denundation of the forest land and massive felling of Birch trees, locally known as Bhojpatra in the area. Bisht along with a few of her friends started working to protect the Gangotri area from further environmental degradation.

“We started working on Save Ganotri project in 1992, the first tree plantation work was done in 1996 and is continued till date,” Bisht said.

Peter Hillary, who is also in Kathmandu to present the award shared how his father contributed to empowering the Sherpa community and provided economic and social development opportunities in the Khumbu area through access to proper education.

Published: 18-03-2014 08:38

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