Your guide - MEHUL MODY

Himalayan Hikes is a result of my passion for hiking. In the 80's I was a volunteer for the HNCEP organization lead by Mr. Lavkumar Khachar. I developed the love for nature and hiking while volunteering at the following camps:

1) Pirotan Island Marine Camp in the Gulf of Kutch (Arabian Sea)
2) Ajad Island Marine Camp in the Gulf of Kutch (Arabian Sea)
3) Himalayan Camp based in Manali, Himachal Pradesh.
4) Hingolgadh Camp on the forest preserve at the base of Mr. Khachar's family Castle.

My career has involved (higher education /corporate) facilities planning. My educational credentials are as follows:

* Diploma in Architecture from the Inst. of Environmental Design, Vidyanagar, India
* Masters in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State Univ. Columbus, Ohio
* Masters in Business Administration from the San Jose State Univ. San Jose, California.

Your host in India - LAVKUMAR Khachar

If there is one name that stands out for long term contribution to spreading awareness about nature, especially ornithology, it is that of Lavkumar Khachar. He has spent his life studying nature and teaching people to understand and love it.
Born into the royal family of Jasdan in Saurashtra, Mr. Khachar started his career teaching Bio Sciences and Geography at Rajkumar College, Rajkot in 1956. His creative implementation of the nature studies program so impressed the Board of World Wildlife Fund-India that he was given the responsibility of conceiving and initiating its Education and Youth Movement in 1976.

In 1984 he took charge as the Director of the Nature Discovery Centre at the Centre for Environment Education (CEE). Today State governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are following the model created by him across India. He was instrumental in declaring the Gulf of Kutch Islands as the first marine national park in India.

The beautiful property of Hinglaj Farm overlooking the Beas River in the Himalayas has been his home for the last 25 years. From this home he as launched the nature conservation education and camping movement that has been replicated nationwide by other nature lovers. The Hingolgadh Nature Conservation Education program (HNCEP) has been instrumental in opening the eyes of nature lovers to the outdoor life in India and in turn contributing to the local economy without threatening the local culture.

Mr. Khachar has been the recipient of the following awards for his dedication to Nature Education:

* The Salim Ali - Lok Wan Tho Lifetime Award for Excellence in Ornithology for his pioneering work in ornithology and on the Nanda Devi National Park.
* Certificate of Merit awarded by His Royal Highness Prince Philip for his contribution in initiating the Youth Education Movement and developing the Nature Camps for WWF-India.
* In 2004, he was awarded the Venu Menon Lifetime Achievement Award.

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