After three days in Bhutan and several meetings with scientists, monastic school principals and government officials I have gained immense respect for the care the Bhutanese give to nature, especially during a time of economic development. The 700,000 people clustered in this small landlocked country have the right ethic.  We’ve visited several monastic schools to learn about their interest in conservation ecology curriculum and development of model projects at their goembas. Pictured here is Lopen Gaptshering, Principal of the model Lekshed Jugney Shedra in Punaka.  Established in 2000,  this school is noted for its environmental programs, efficient cook systems, spotless washrooms (cleaned daily my the monks) and lovely vegetated grounds. Selected monks can attend first level of training for five years and some stay on for an additional 5 years of masters work. Others are invited from other countries. It is the only school with monks from all 20 of Bhutan’s districts. All of the monks practice vegetarianism and when not in dharma, ritual, English or computer classes, study solo in a special spot under their own tree on the grounds. Each monk maintains his study area with flowering plants and a little stone walkway.  These are an extraordinary group of future monastic leaders.

Today we initiate our two-day workshop with presentations for 70 monks and school principals by Bhutan’s scientists, the Alliance for Religions and Conservation, The Tributary Fund, and the Central Monastic Body. Will keep you posted!