Tuesday, January 23, 2018


This fall I took 13 Western Washington University students to Nepal to study the biodiversity, culture, and ethnobotany found in the central Himalayas for seven weeks. We trekked through Langtang National Park and met with villagers living inside the park, park staff, and conservation organizations to learn how the park is accomplishing its mission of conserving both the natural and cultural heritage. Towards the end of the program we more deliberately studied village life by spending 10 days in Gatlang to help with chores and rebuilding efforts from the 2015 earthquake that rocked all the villages in this area.

Nepalis still rely on wild plants to a great extent for medicine, fodder, fiber, and to a more limited extent, food. Mushrooms, berries, and wild greens form the most important groups of wild foods. The very same species of Stinging Nettle (Urtica diocia) found here in the Pacific Northwest is also abundant and widely eaten in Nepal.

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