Nature Science Center
The Prakriti Vigyan Kendra (PVK) has been established in Geetadham campus near Khutani (Bhimtal) in 1998 with the objective of imparting environmental conservational and livelihoods promotional awareness. It is spread over in a campus of five acres enriched with varied flora and fauna of the region. An Experimentation Resource Demonstration Farm (ERD Farm) has also been developed at PVK to carry out research and experiments for optimum land use practices, to produce and supply quality seeds and root stocks of commercially and ecologically important crops to villagers, demonstrate cost effective appropriate technologies for the hills, organize on farm training and exposure camps and information dissemination to the village level.
"Nandan Kanan" or the botanical garden has been established in the same campus with the objective to demonstrate and conserve the bio diversity of the lower and mid Himalayan region to generate awareness and love among people towards natural heritage and its conservation and to impart practical knowledge of our rich natural heritage. This area being a transition zone of temperate and tropical climates is rich in biodiversity and ideal for establishing such garden.
I- Natural Resource Management Component
Eco park development
Eco Park : Eco-Park is an innovative concept to promote environment conservation awareness among community, students and tourists. Therefore, Eco-Park has been developed in the PVK campus which is regularly visited by community, students and tourists due to location of Folk Culture Museum and PVK. A total of 1800 visitors including students, farmers and tourists have so far visited the centre.
Nature trail Development : In the five acre campus of PVK, a 350 meter cement concrete nature trail has been developed under the project for visiting various demonstrations and bio-diversity of the region. Besides 200 meters earthen trail and 700 sqft protection wall has also been developed in the centre.
Fencing works : To protect and conserve the demonstration farm/eco-park/botanical garden, 200 RM four line barbed wire fencing has been erected in the centre to protect the centre from wild animals.
Botanical garden (Nandan Kanan) : To conserve and demonstrate the rich bio-diversity of the region, a botanical garden by the name of Nandan Kanan has been developed in the campus of PVK. More than 150 species of floral diversity has been documented and demonstrated in the garden with important information like botanical name and usage.
Herbal nursery : For supply of quality seedlings of multi-purpose species, a herbal nursery having 2000 seedlings of various species has been developed in the PVK.
Soil & Moisture Conservation Demonstration
Water is life and it’s conservation is important for the existence of life on earth. Therefore, water harvesting and conservation related demonstration are proposed. The main demonstrations proposed are following.
Water harvesting tank : There is acute shortage of drinking cum irrigation water in hills mainly during summer months. Therefore one demonstration of brick/stone masonry water harvesting irrigation tank of 20 KL is constructed for production of vegetables and other crops.
LDPE Tank (Poly-pond) : To overcome the problem of water scarcity for domestic and irrigation purpose, simple and cheap water harvesting technology using LDPE sheets is developed for promotion of OSV, exotic vegetable & spice cultivation in the farm. The capacity of the tank is 50000 litres or 50 KL.
Ferro – Cement Tanks : Ferro Cement Tank is an appropriate water harvesting technology of water storage in hills. Therefore, one such demonstration has been made at the farm of 35 KL capacity.
Drip Irrigation : Drip irrigation system is latest technique of irrigation by which plant can be irrigated at that vary place where it requires i.e. at the root zone of plant. It is an effective technology for saving water and time. By the use of drip irrigation cultivator can get the remarkable increase in the yield of a crop with saving of water. Therefore drip irrigation demonstrations are made at various locations in the farm. Besides various types of sprinklers are also demonstrated in the farm.
Irrigation Pipe : For development of irrigation network in the farm, GI and rubber pipe network has been installed in the farm. A total of 400 meters pipe line network has been laid out in the farm covering all demonstrational plots.
II- Livelihood Promotion Component
Agri-culture related demonstrations
Agriculture is the main livelihoods activity of the region and state. Therefore special emphasis has been placed under this program through capacity building and demonstration in the activities related to high yielding seed and technologies, bee keeping, seed production and promotion of organic farming, composting technologies. Important implemented activities are:
Establishment of Organic Farm : Uttarakhand has been declared as Organic state and special emphasis is given to promote organic farming. Therefore organic farming related demonstration and communication-extension programs were implemented in the farm.
Bee Keeping : The role of Honey Bees is important in hill economy as they provide honey and increase agricultural productivity by pollination. Traditional bee hives are practiced in the villages but these need to be renovated for better honey production. Therefore two demonstrations of bee keeping were implemented in the farm.
Frontline demonstrations of Cereal and Pulse crops : The livelihoods of poor farming community is mainly dependent on agriculture. Productivity of cereal and pulse crops is less due to use of traditional seeds. Therefore, demonstration of high and productive varieties of Kharif and Rabi cereal and pulse crops Paddy, Maize, Mandua, Jhangora, Wheat, barley, Ugal, Ramdana, Arhar, Urd, Gahat, Soyabean, Kala Bhat, Rajma, Masoor, field pea, Pahari Lahi etc were made in the farm.
Composting Technology Demonstration : Good quality compost is one of the major requirements of farming community. Therefore various type of composting technologies were demonstrated in the farm which included NADEP compost pit, poly-lined vermin-compost pit and brick lined vermin compost pit.
Demonstration of Agricultural Equipments and Garden Tools : In the hill economy, agricultural equipments and garden tools are required for various types of agricultural and horticultural operations for energy, time and money saving. Therefore, demonstration of agricultural equipments and garden tools were made in the farm.
Horticulture related demonstrations :
The objective of horticulture component is to promote horti-cultural crop as potential income generating cash crops. Under this, demonstrations of vegetables, exotic vegetables, spice cultivation, fruits & nuts, floriculture, MAP, mushroom etc along with some yield increasing technologies like poly-house, shade-net. Some of the important demonstrations made in the project includes.
Frontline demonstrations of Vegetable & Spices crops : Due to favorable climatic conditions, there is good potential vegetables and spices, which can give premium returns to vegetable farmers. Therefore vegetable cultivation including off season and exotic vegetables demonstration of high and productive quality vegetables (like capsicum, tomato, cabbage, pea, French beans etc.) and spices (coriander, chilly, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, garlic etc) are made in the farm.
Frontline demonstrations of Fruits & Nuts crops : As a potential cash crop, fruit & nut species were demonstrated in the terraces and slopes. 315 seedlings of quality and productive varieties of apple, apricot, plum, peach, kiwi, walnut etc. were planted in the HIMANI farm.
Frontline demonstrations of MAP crops : Due to wild life damage problem and favorable climatic conditions, there is good potential of MAP crops also. Therefore demonstration of high and productive quality MAP crops like lemon grass, Tagar, Hedychium, Valeriana, Mentha etc were demonstrated in the farm.
Frontline demonstrations of Flori-culture & Ornamentals : Due to favorable climatic conditions, there is scope of floriculture and ornamentls cultivation, which can give premium returns to vegetable farmers by selling it to tourists and markets. Therefore demonstration of high and productive quality flower and other ornamental crops like gerbera, lilium, carnation, chrysanthemum, genda etc were made in the farm.
Mushroom Production Demonstration : Mushroom was found a successful cash crop for mid Himalayan region which does not require much land holding and resources. Due to tourist destination, its marketing is not a major issue. Therefore, one demonstration of mushroom production was made in the farm.
Poly house Demonstration : Use of poly house as an appropriate technology for producing off- season vegetables and especially vegetable seedling in a controlled and protected environment is now well understood. Therefore, two demonstration of poly houses (one angle iron and one bamboo) was made in the farm.
Poly-tunnel Demonstration : Poly tunnel is an improved cost effective poly technology especially suited for growing vegetable seedlings. Therefore, two demonstration of poly tunnels were made in the farm.
Shade-net : Shade-net is a proven yield increasing poly technology which is now widely used for seedling and crop production. Therefore, one demonstration of shade-net was made in the farm.
Zero energy cool chamber : Zero energy cool chambers is an on- farm storage chamber, that works on the principle of evaporative cooling, i.e., cooling effect due to evaporation of water. It is a useful technology of storing vegetable and fruits for a short duration (2-3 days) unless it is marketed. Therefore, one demonstrations of cool chamber was made in the farm.
Livestock related demonstrations
Under the livestock sub-component key activities identified are fodder bank development, improved cattle shed demonstration, silage and fodder plantation.
Improved Cattle shed with Cattle Platform and feeding trough: Cattle have always played a very important role in the nature resource based economy of the mountain communities. Cattle are mainly reared in the hills for dung production for rebuilding the fertility of soil, besides milk and ploughing of fields. One of the major problems of agriculture sector is the ill ventilated and unhealthy traditional cattle shed, which need to be improvised with improved cattle shed with standing cattle platform, feeding trough and chaff cutter. The traditional cattle shed creates unhealthy, unhygienic environment for cattle as well as human, besides unproductive compost. Therefore one model improved cattle shed is proposed in the project. The improved cattle shed have cross ventilation and proper drainage for creating better living condition for animals. The cattle platform and feeding troughs encourages staff- feeding, which saves the feeding materials, time, energy and overall drudgery of women folk. Therefore a demonstration of improved cattle shed with platform and feeding trough was made in the farm.
Fodder Grass Planting was carried out in terrace risers for green fodder supply and soil and moisture conservation. Planting of Napier seedlings was done in 2 nalis of land in terrace risers and slopes, which is providing quality green fodder for cow at the farm.