Volunteer Training Program(VTP) , Kudremukh, Day 1-180514 (Sunday)

May 27, 2014

We (the budding volunteers of the VTP) reached Kalasa in the pre-dawn light:


The promised pickup did not materialize, so we decided to take a local bus that would go past the Bhagavathi Nature Camp (BNC):


Quite a few of us, at the entrance to BNC...we will become friends over the week to come! DSC04357 Sequestered...this was the only mobile connectivity point, near the gate, about 1km from the camp itself, and we were rarely able to access it, and even then, we needed the BSNL connection, which most of us didn't have :D DSC04360 Here's a COMMON CROW welcoming us: DSC04366 The men got assigned to the dormitory (there was no separate accommodation there) and the lucky girls who booked there got a free upgrade to tents! DSC04368 The pic of the tent will appear in the post about the next few days. Here are the trekking "rutes" from the camp: DSC04369 Er, my tent was called "Mecoque" instead of "Macaque". :D The food was excellent throughout...Basavanna, of Bandipur JLR, took a lot of trouble over designing the menus! DSC04370 Wild turmeric bloomed everywhere: DSC04378 The watch tower near the camp was a great source of both bird and mammal sightings, and we sneaked off there whenever we didn't have classroom sessions! DSC04379 Here's the view of the tree nursery (where native trees are grown for afforestation) from the tower: DSC04382 The program started off with Sarath Champati (L), Dr Ramesh, the DFO (Kudremukh range) and VMR (R)...these two were our lead trainers. DSC04398 VMR(Er, Mr Vijay Mohan Raj) was known to me on India Nature Watch as a great photographer, long before I realized he was in the Indian Forest Service cadre, and a deeply committed one, too! DSC04407 Here's Sarath. I've wanted to attend a training program under his guidance since 2006! DSC04410 Here's a MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL PIGEON which started my "lifer" (first-ever sighting) list: DSC04431 Ain't it beautiful? DSC04439

I’ve heard of the Smokey Mountains in the US and visited them, but this was right here, as the clouds rose from the valley:


The first day was all about introducing ourselves and settling in. Read my short account of the sessions


To see photos of the first day of the program,

click here