Kathmandu -- World Wildlife Fund has awarded scholarships to four promising Nepalese conservation students in memory of the 24 people who perished in last year's Himalayan helicopter tragedy.
The scholarships are designed to encourage promising Nepalese students to pursue careers in conservation, recognizing the tremendous loss of leadership in last year's accident. Some of Nepal's - and the world's - finest conservation leaders were lost when the helicopter went down in the mountains surrounding Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain. The leaders had been celebrating the handover of Kangchenjunga's conservation areas to the local community.
The first year's recipients come from across Nepal, including its most remote areas. They will study forestry at Nepal's prestigious Institute of Forestry and will work to ensure the rich legacy of nature conservation in their homeland.
"These young scholars represent the future of conservation in Nepal," said Carter Roberts, President of WWF-US. "It is an inspiration to see them carrying on the legacy of our lost colleagues."
"The conservation heroes left a legacy," said Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. "Now their vision leads us in saving our living planet."
The four scholarship winners are:
-- Chandra Shekhar Badu, who has received the Nepal Conservation Memorial Scholarship. He has been actively involved in tree plantation and environmental awareness programs in his village, Darchula, in West Nepal. He will pursue a Technical Certificate Level in Forestry at the Institute of Forestry, Hetauda Campus.
-- Bimala Lama, who has received the Mingma Sherpa Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the late Mingma Sherpa's life-long commitment to help Nepal's rural poor improve their livelihoods while living in harmony with nature. Hailing from a remote ethnic indigenous group, Bimala has been actively involved in environmental education and tree plantation programs and is extremely concerned about water resource issues in Nepal. She will pursue a four-year Bachelors in Forestry degree at the Institute of Forestry, Hetauda Campus.
-- Maryada Shrestha, who has received the Jennifer Headley Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the late Jennifer Headley, a Canadian working on community conservation initiatives at WWF-Nepal. Maryada is from far Western Nepal and is already in the top of her certificate-level class at the Institute of Forestry in Pokhara, where she has worked with the Self Help Environment Awareness Camp and several community forestry user groups. She will pursue a four-year Bachelor's degree in Forestry at the Institute of Forestry, Pokhara Campus, and
-- Sher Bahadur Pariyar, who received the Jillian Bowling Schlaepfer Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the late Jillian Bowling Schlaepfer, head of WWF-UK's Conservation Program. Sher belongs to a Western Nepal ethnic minority and has been involved in the Oppressed Community Development Centre and believes that the most effective way to conserve nature is through the participation of local people. He will pursue a four-year Bachelor's of Forestry studies at the Institute of Forestry, Pokhara.
WWF works closely with the governments and people of the Eastern Himalayas to promote their development and economic well-being while protecting wildlife and restoring natural habitats at the same time.