Society For Education And Environmental Development
The Society for Education and Environmental Development (SEED), based in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang Valley, is promoting environmental conservation in the state through education, says Anirudh Nair.
Photo: Minom Pertin
White four-ring, Assam three-ring, Peal’s palmfly, khaki silverline, yellow tinsel, stately nawab, zig zag flat, koh-i-noor, yellow gorgon, scarce white commodore, yellow-veined lancer, yellow kaiser, variegated rajah, scarce rajah, ringlet, lesser albatross… it is difficult not to revel in the ingenuity of lepidopterists when it comes to naming their study subjects.
These butterflies were among the 255 species documented by 46 participants from across India at the Namdapha Butterfly Meet organised by the Society for Education and Environmental Development (SEED) in April 2018.
The third-largest national park in India, Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh is a biodiverse haven, where butterflies and moths are found in extravagant abundance. Little wonder that naturalists from across the world chose to come butterflying in Namdapha, the venue for the meet envisioned by locals Minom Pertin, Roshan Upadhaya and Aditya Das from SEED. Butterfly enthusiasts themselves, they approached the park’s Field Director Chukhu Loma and Assistant Field Director Sangey Tsering, who green flagged their idea at their very first meeting.
How wonderful it would be if officialdom worked so seamlessly with constructive conservationists across India!
The event was funded by the Wildlife Department using money allocated by the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). By all measure, the event helped to unite lepidopterists from across India, including luminaries such as Peter Smetacek, Founder of Butterfly Research Centre, Bhimtal, Monsoon Jyoti Gogoi, Scientist, Bombay Natural History Society and Sanctuary Young Naturalist Awardee, and Nawang Gyatso Bhutia from Butterflies and Moths of Sikkim.
Photo: Minom Pertin
Founded in 2010 by Mibo Pertin, SEED was born of the belief that education was vital to environment conservation. With a network of around 100 active volunteers, SEED is based in Roing and operates in the districts of Lower Dibang Valley, Papumpare, Upper Siang and Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh. The organisation has formed eco-clubs in schools to ‘seed’ young locals with conservation values so they can become ambassadors for the invaluable biodiversity of the region.
In Miao, they have undertaken selective tree plantation drives and have launched campaigns against plastic pollution together with the Department of Environment and Forests. To raise awareness, they have organised wildlife exhibitions and regularly conduct nature walks for students at the Namdapha Tiger Reserve. The organisation also runs coaching institutes at Itanagar, Mariyang and Bolung for underprivileged students, charging them very minimal fees.
“As a society run by wildlife and nature lovers, we are trying our best to connect people to nature. We target young minds and encourage ‘each one to encourage one’ to propagate nature conservation,” says Minom Pertin, Deputy Director, SEED.
The Namdapha Butterfly Meet has generated considerable curiosity among the elders and youngsters who join the many nature walks held so as to learn about butterflies and their role in nature. “When people see us working for nature conservation, they want to know more and this will have a very positive impact on their attitudes in the years to come,” adds Pertin.
SEED’s desire to make the butterfly meet an annual event bore fruit recently as their proposal to conduct the North East Butterfly Meet (NEBM) 2019 was not just accepted, but supported at all levels. Scheduled to be held from February 21 to 24, 2019, the aim is straightforward… to demonstrate to people across the world what hidden treasures are to be found in the largest Protected Area of this Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot. Acknowledging that they still have a long way to go, SEED asks for support from those who recognise the worth of their mission so that more eco-clubs can be created in schools, villages and even within government institutions. With such support they would be able to recruit more youngsters.
Photo: Minom Pertin
Sanctuary readers are encouraged to contact these gentle, plucky and ambitious young people who would also be more than happy to guide visitors through their natural wonderland.
To find out more or get in touch to plan a visit, write to the Deputy Director, SEED at
Author: Anirudh Nair, First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVIII No. 12, December 2018.