Leaving Winter Transhumant Field Study

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Ian Snider and Kelly Sheets will be sharing the culture of Appalachia as they accompany Bhotiya shepherds to their summer pastures

Mountain Works Sustainable Development conducted its pilot project entitled Leaving Winter. This collaborative field study centered on a month long trekking excursion in the Garhwal Himalaya of Uttarakhand, beginning April 23, 2007. Where as many treks focus on physical scenery, Leaving Winter focused on the human landscape of the transhumant shepherds of the Nanda Devi region. As land use restrictions have increased along the herders traditional grazing routes, they have developed adaptive strategies for continuing their marginalized way of life. By moving their flocks at night to avoid traffic along the way, the last of the great trans-Himalayan nomads seek to find passage through an increasingly globalized mountain landscape.

That process of continual adaptation has inspired a rare brand of mountain to mountain collaboration. We sought to bridge the gap between theory and practice in sustainable mountain development. Friends and family joined with the global network of mountain activists and academics and logged onto www.mtnworks.org for periodic field updates and to bear witness to the deeper connections we must all make with each other as participants in the mountain ecosystem. Leaving Winter was first a song by Boone, NC artist Jay Brown.

The Leaving Winter Expedition is also a co-project of the Nanda Devi Campaign, The Mountain Shepherds Initiative, and the Nature-Link Institute.

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Dhunsingh Portrait
Chinka young ones
Ian Snider
Kelly at Malgathha
Bridge at Jumma
Caravan at Ruing
Long March from Birahi to Garpak
Just Arrived
First Seasonal Crossing over Dronagiri Nalla
Anand Singh of Garpak
Camp Gadi Bridge
Flocks