Indian conservationist to be awarded Edmund Hillary Medal
Noted Indian conservationist Dr Harshwanti Bisht has been selected as the sixth recipient of the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal for her work in Gangotri Himalayas.
Dr Bisht, who belongs to Uttarakhand, will be presented the award at a function held at Kathmandu on March 17 where Hillary’s mountaineer son Peter would also be present.
“For 25 years, since 1989, Dr Bisht has labored to improve conditions in the Gangotri area of Uttarakhand, at the headwaters of the Ganges in northern India,” said Dr Beau Beza, chair of the Hillary Medal Selection Committee in a release issued on Tuesday.
“Her Save Gangotri project has planted tens of thousands of saplings, organized eco-awareness campaigns, propagated endangered medicinal herbs, and introduced eco-tourism standards to an area that had been ravaged by climate change and unregulated pilgrimage,” it added.
Besides being a conservationist, Dr Bisht is also a professor of economics and a keen mountaineer. She had scaled the Nanda Devi peak (7,816 m) in 1981 and was part of the 1984 Indian expedition to Mt Everest.
She is currently initiating a project along with Mountain Legacy to promote establishment of a network of women’s mountaineering clubs at universities throughout the Himalayan region.
The Hillary Medal was initiated in 2003 and recognized Sir Edmund’s lifelong commitment to the welfare of mountain people and their environment and encourages continuous emulation of his example.
It is awarded for remarkable contribution in the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions.