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Highlights from the Himalayas

Dr. Randy Kyes, chief of the Global Conservation, Education & Outreach unit at the WaNPRC, and his Nepali colleagues wrapped up their 21st year of field training in Kathmandu, Nepal, before gaining some altitude in their annual climb up to their field sites in Langtang National Park. This was a return the site of a devastating  7.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting landslide in April of 2015.

Kyes and his Nepali colleagues highlighted their dedication and collaboration over the past two decades in a two-day photo exhibit titled “Langtang Through the Lens of Field Researchers.” The event was hosted at the Central Library of Tribhuvan University (TU) and sponsored jointly by the library itself, and the university’s Department of Library and Information Science, along with the Central Department of Zoology.

In the foreground are three small Nepali children sitting on a small horse led by an older man wearing a backpack while in the background is the sparse, rocky terrain of the Himalayan foothills in this promotional poster for the photo exhibition, Lantang Through the Lens of Field Researchers.

The exhibition provided a visual journey into the heart of the Himalayas and served as a celebration of over two decades of partnership and collaborative research, training, and outreach in the Langtang region.

At the heart of this celebration were the tireless efforts of dedicated field researchers, including long-time collaborators like Prof. Mukesh Chalise and past students turned colleagues, Dr. Narayan Koju and Dr. Laxman Khanal. In a moving speech at the opening of the event, Kyes also expressed his gratitude to the local residents of Langtang for their years of support noting that this exhibition is dedicated to their dear friends who were lost in the terrible 2015 earthquake and landslide.

Supported in part by OEI, USA, the exhibition not only showcased the beauty of Langtang, but also underscored the importance of these photographs as valuable sources of information for future research endeavors. It served as a reminder of the enduring impact of collaborative efforts in preserving and understanding our natural world.

Collaborating faculty wearing Nepalese khata ceremonial scarves, from left to right: Professor Laxman Khanal, Professor Mukesh Chalise, Professor Randy Kyes, Assistant Professor Narayan Koju
L to R: Associate Professor Laxman Khanal and Professor Mukesh Chalise (Tribhuvan University), Professor Randy Kyes (University of Washington), Assistant Professor Narayan Koju (Nepal Engineering College, Pokhara University)

This collaboration started in 2000 when I first visited Nepal and met with Mukesh Chalise, who became my long-time colleague. Two of our past field course students now colleagues, Laxman Khanal and Narayan Koju, are continuing this long collaboration – leading the way into the future.

Randall C. Kyes, PhDGlobal Conservation, Education & Outreach unit chief