The Minister for Forest and Environment, Government of Sikkim,Karma Loday Bhutia, on 18 November 2022, interacted with school children at the Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary.
He was accompanied by Sandeep Tambey, Chief Wildlife Warden and Udai Gurung, Conservator of Forest (Wildlife Circle).
The Minister, during a function organized by the G.B. Pant Institute on 10th September 2022, had desired that a program be designed to specifically educate school children on Biodiversity Conservation by means of organizing outdoor nature tours.
Accordingly, as part of an initiative under the National Mission for Himalayan Studies and in order to impart hands-on education to school children on Biodiversity Conservation, a short trek was organized under the directives of the Minister, by the East Wildlife Division.
A total of 40 school children from classes VI and VII, along with 8 teachers participated in the trek.
The Education Department, Government of Sikkim facilitated the schools on their participation, namely Enchey Senior Secondary School; Bojoghari Senior Secondary School; Pangthang Junior High School; Burtuk Senior Secondary School; Arithang Senior Secondary School; Penlong Senior Secondary School; Tashi Namgyal Academy, and Tathangchen Senior Secondary School.
The children were briefed on the natural and cultural values of the Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary and the need to conserve and protect our natural resources.
The school children thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor learning and interacted enthusiastically with the Minister and senior officers. They admitted that it was a memorable experience.
The name Fambonglho is derived from the Lepcha language, which translates as the ‘Hill of the Machilus edulis’ (Fam – Machilus edulis/ Pomsi/Phunsay ;lho – hill). The most popular narrative as to how the name came to be takes one back to the time when automobiles were unheard of; the entire hill was covered with thick forests inter-spread with paddy fields; then people had humble dwellings and the mainstay was agriculture and animal husbandry.
Gangtok town was small, with wooden houses and the mode of transportation was ponies and horses. The residents of the villages located all around the fringes of the forests which is now a sanctuary, had to walk long distances to travel from one village to another, sometimes crossing over several hills.
The travellers’ en-route along the way rested and ate from the trees of Machilus edulis, which was in abundance. In this manner people crossed over now and then, relishing the fruits of the Pomsi tree and thus the name.