The youth today deserve a say in environmental policies, and this starts with raising awareness among young people about the key issues at hand and how to get involved in pro-environmental actions that can mitigate looming climate change. NEN in Nagaland has been consistently organising several initiatives to raise youth awareness about biodiversity, traditional farming systems and natural resources. A Biodiversity Walk was organised for a group of 17 students from St. Joseph College NSS team along with a teacher on 11th February 2022. Mr. Bisieto Phira, Community Knowledge Holder from Kigwema Village guided the group as they trekked the foothills of Mt. Japfu, the second highest peak in Nagaland, a popular destination for trekking. The mountain peak is also home to the tallest rhododendron tree in the world as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records 1993! Kigwema is located 15 kms away south from Kohima town under Kohima District, Nagaland.
The NEN team along with Mr. Bisieto Phira, Community Knowledge Holder from Kigwema Village trekked the soft foot hills of the mountain range
The team explored the community forest Akiile and the community jhum fields, which is getting ready for the Jhum season, where farmers were preparing the lands and sowing seeds.
The youth learnt to identify many plant species living within the community forest. At the end of the exercise the young students were able to identify 8 medicinal plants and 19 uncultivated plants and trees found in the forest.
The students demonstrated great enthusiasm and many expressed their joy in experiencing such an activity for the first time. The teacher in-charge Mr. Vikato also shared his opinion on the need for young students to know more about their environment, communities beyond the text book and encouraged each student to go back to their own communities to explore and learn how to safeguard natural resources.