On February 27th (2017), US Ambassador Her Excellency Ms. Alaina B. Teplitz and her team visited Pratiman Neema Memorial Foundation in Siddharthanagar. Her team visited the Lumbini Center for Sustainability (PNMF), an international research hub housed at the PNMHI college complex, and observed various collaborative projects between the PNMF and the University of New Mexico’s Nepal Study Center and their research team. One of the highlighted projects was the Danda (River) Ecological Monitoring Project (DEMP) concept, modeled after a similar project in New Mexico, USA –BEMP. The idea behind this initiative is to
collect long-term scientific data (e.g., water quality, bio-diversity) and use it to educate school children of public schools, and also inform policy makers. During her visit, she was also informed of the proposed bio-park idea to be built along the Danda River (e.g., bird sanctuary) as a part of the DEMP program. The impact of such a recreational site on eco-tourism was also discussed.
The urban town of Siddharthanagar’s other environmental issue, air pollution, and the importance of air pollution tracking was also discussed at the meeting. That is, the overall theme was: clean air, clean water, and the clean environment, and understanding the importance of scientific data tracking, education, public health, eco-tourism, and citizen science. Ambassador Ms. Teplitz also gleefully interacted with the students of the PNMHI college. PNMF was represented by Dr. Siddhartha Bajracharya, Principal Mr. Youbraj Neupane, Managing Director Mr. Dharma KC, Dr. Bishnu Marasini, and various PNMHI college staff.