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How birding turned into a people's movement in Bhopal

The journey of Bhopal Bird Watching camps started in the year 2005. In the initial year it was CREW (Crusade for Revival of Environment and Wildlife) and World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India that joined hands with the Madhya Pradesh Academy of Administration to conduct the camps and subsequently M.P.Forest Department and Academy have been jointly organising these camps with the help of CREW. The aim of these camps has been to create a "Green-Brigade" (Environmentally Aware Citizens) in support of nature conservation at Bhopal. The camps in 2005 resulted in creation of "Bhopal Birds", an NGO devoted to nature conservation. The NGO--CREW has collaborated with the birding initiative in Bhopal on a continuous basis. Between the summers of 2005 and 2007, seven summer bird watching camps were organised and it was for the first time that a Winter Camp was organised in December 2007. In all 31 participants took part in that camp. The participants were in the age group six to sixty seven. Bhopal attracts a large number of migratory and winter visitors from Europe, Russia, Central Asia and Himalayas. The lakes in the state capital form a good habitat for these winter birds. They travel more than 5000 to 7000 kms from their place of origin and stay for a while in the Indian peninsula Lalit Shastri, founder president CREW, Jasbir Singh Chouhan, Mohammed Khalique, Sangeeta Rajgir and R. Sreenivasa Murthy were resource persons for the 2007 Winter Camp. M.P.Lake Conservation Authority, M.P.State Tourism Development Corporation, M.P.State Eco-tourism Development Corporation and Wolrd Wilife Fund for Nature -India were the co-sponsors of Bhopal Bird Watching Camps-Winter 2007.

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