Coordination, Innovation, Celebration

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Abstract: Forest, agriculture and animal husbandry are the most intractable aspects of economic development in Nepal. Especially in the Middle Hills, forest plays an important role for sustaining both agriculture and animal husbandry by providing green leaves to feed livestock, and the fallen dry leaves for animal bedding and compost making the major nutrient supply to agricultural fields. Large quantity of the litter is removed every year from the forest but the little attention is found to be given in the community Operational plan to quantify the amount of the litter removal, estimation of the nutrient loss, its long run effect on the forest ecosystem and regularization of the collection in scientific way. No study has been found to be conducted in community forests showing the nutrient input through litter fall and nutrient flow through litter removal from the forest. The research is an attempt to study and quantify the total amount of the annual litter fall in Sal (Shorea Robusta) forests, its removal by users and the nutrient loss through the removal in forest. The research is conducted on qualifying the total amount of the litter fall in Sal (Shorea Robusta) forests, its removal, uses by community people and the nutrient loss made every year from the litter removal in Ranibari Community Forests of Dhading District. The amount of the leaf litter fall for the Sal is estimated in the present study about 6.35 tons and about 85% of the total fall is collected by the users. Among the users about 70% are unaware of the nutrient deficiency caused by the litter removal on the forest in the long run. Their views about removing litter for the protecting forest from fire, promoting the regeneration by clearing the ground and creating safety against harmful insects. Through the litter fall total amount of the carbon 2140kg, nitrogen 78.04 kg, phosphorous 9.56kg, and potassium 66.87kg, calcium 44.77kg, magnesium 8.54kg per hectare per year are estimated to be added in the forest floor. Heavy collection of the litter causes nutritional deficiency and the changes soil condition which finally affects plant growth and the yield production. Consequently, the objectives of the community forest management cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Therefore, litter removal practices one of the essential components to be considered while preparing operational plan for community for management.

Key Words: Community forestry, litter fall, litter collection, Nutrient of litter, Shorea robusta
Introduction: Nepal is an agrarian country where about 90 percent of the population is engaged in the farming system. Agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry are the major interrelation components of the farming system. Farming is the based on an interactive system where cropping patterns, animal husbandry and forest products are combined. Forest are very important for Nepal, both from the socio-cultural and economic points of views. Nearly 75% of household energy and 40% of the livestock nutrition comes from the forest (Master Plan for the Forestry Sector, 1988). Forest plays an important role for sustaining the production of agricultural land and animal husbandry. Farming system in mid hills greatly depends on forest inputs such as green leaves to feed livestock, the fallen dry leaves for animal bedding and making compost with animal excreta, major nutrient supply to agricultural lands. Animal manure combined with the large quantities of forest products collected for animal bedding and fodder accounts for a considerable proportion of the nutrient supply to crops (Yadav, 1992; Khadka et al., 1884). People’s dependency on forest products for supporting their livelihood as well as meeting basic needs such as fuel wood, fodder, timber and leaf litter has created a heavy thrust on the natural resources. The consequences of the heavy pressure on the forest can be seen as soil erosion, landslide, flood and drought etc. Hill farmers have increasingly been confronted with a decline in forest fodder supply due to steadily increasing livestock population, deforestation and livestock grazing in forests (Mahat, 1987). The forest is an important factor to sustain production per unit of cultivated land (Shrestha and Katuwal, 1992). This problem is likely to be aggravated further due to the excess removal of the surface litter and crop residues, and continuous topsoil erosion (Jodha, 1995). This has also affected the farming system and caused adverse effects on the socio-economy of Nepal. Forest plays a significant role not only in Nepalese economic development but also in maintaining the ecosystem.
Community forestry program is one of the main national policies of the government of Nepal in the forestry sector which aims at the development of rural community. Community forest is a community based management practices directed towards increasing the direct benefits of the forest resources to the rural poor. Thus, community forestry is a practice of controlling and managing the forest resources by the rural people who use them for their domestic purposes and as an integral part of their farming system. The community people manage the forest based on different silvicultural operations prescribed their operational plan. The procedures of extraction and distribution of timber, fuel wood, fodder and other forest products are clearly mentioned in their Operational Plan but little attention has been found to be given towards the management of litter regarding its regularization, qualification and distribution system. In most of the community forests people claim the free distribution of the litter as their privilege of playing active role in the management and protection of forest as users. Thus, the users collect litter from the forest without giving any due attention towards the impact of the excessive removal of the litter on forest ecosystem.
Litter fall is an important pathway of flow of organic matter as well as nutrient from the vegetation to soil. Thus, it is an essential component of energy and biogeochemical cycles in forests. Litter fall also influences hydrological cycle through the changes in water infiltration and retention characteristics of the forest soil.
Forest floor is open scraped clean by litter collectors, which damages young seedling regeneration (Thomson, 1988). Leaf litter plays a vital role in forest productivity, soil fertility and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystem through its decomposition. Soil fertility influences the decomposition process through the availability of the nutrient to the decomposer and consequently affects the species composition, biomass and activity of the micro flora and fauna (Schaefer and Schauermann 1990; Raubuch and Beese 1995, Bhatta et. Al 2000; Osono 2004, Hirobe 2004). Therefore, soil nutrient conditions are important for the decomposition process of litter (Berg 2000; Staaf 1987, McClaugherty et. al. (1985). In spite of managing litter which plays a major role in adding nutrient in the forest, users are allowed to collect litter throughout the year regarding of time and the season. This might be the reason of unawareness of the users regarding the long run impact of the litter removal on the forest condition in one hand or the minimal research works done through its removal on the other hand. The prevalence of the inadequate technical knowledge and the information might be the reason for not prescribing the management practices of the litter in their Operational Plan.

General Objectives
·         For study total litter-fall and nutrient-loss through litters collection practices in the community forestry.
·         For study total litter-fall and the nutrient-loss through litter collection practices in the community forestry.
Specific Objectives
For the purposes of this study the working objectives were fixed as follows.
a.       To find out the existing litter collection practices in the CF
b.      To estimated the amount of the annual litter fall
c.        To quantify the annual litter removal
d.      To analyze nutrient content in leaf litter
e.       To calculate the removal of the nutrient through litter collection

3. Study Site
Dhading District, a part of Bagmati Zone, is one of the seventy-five districts of Nepal, a landlocked country of South Asia.  The district spread from 27’40’’ E to 28’ 17’’ E and 80’ 17’’ N to 84’ 35’’ N. The district, with Dhading Besi as its district headquarters, covers an area of 1,926km² and has a population (2001) of 338,658. The mountain range "Ganesh" is the predominated mountain range located within Dhading. All of the peaks are over 7,000 meters with some approaching 8,000. The 8,000+ meter mountain "Manaslu" is clearly visible from much of Dhading, although it is located within the bounds of Gorkha. The transnational "King Prithivi Highway" connecting Kathmandu and Pokhara runs through the southern  portion of the district making for easy access too the Kathmandu valley. The road parallels the "Trishuli" River. The western border with Gorkha is bisected by the “Budi Gandaki” river and this river valley is a great entrance to the Himals of Gorkha (with views of the Ganesh range), not to mention one of the prettier river of Nepal. The towns of Salantar and Arun Ghat should get you pointed in the right direction. The district is bounded by East: Kathmandu, Rasuwa, Nuwakot. West: Gorkha, North: Rasuwa and Tibet, South: Makawanpur and Chitwan. The main rivers of the district are Trisuli river and Budhi Gandaki river. Budi Gandaki separates the district from Gorkha district. There are 25 small rivers, the main being Charoudi, Malekhu, Galtukhola, Belkhukhola, Chirandikhola, Maheshkhola, Thopal, Manukhola, Kastekhola, Mastekhola, Surgandhi, Ankhusalyantar. Besides these, there are over 1743 smaller rivers, springs and the seasonal streams. Altogether there are 50 VDCs in the district. As a whole of the mountainous country Nepal, Dhading district is characterized by the geographic diversity. The natural beauty of this area add fragrance with the presence of the 25 rivers, 1700 streams, Ganesh Himal, foundation of Ganga and Jamuna, hot springs of the Jharlang, Guptesora and Chamere cave. These are also important and remarkable sites for the development of the eco-tourism. The altitude of the area from 300 (Jogimara) to 7100m (Pawil Himal) from the mean sea level and the area falls under the subtropical, temperate and the alpine climatic zone. As a result the district has immense ecological diversity. Among the 50 VDCs of Dhading District Most of the VDCs  have been selected for the study purposes. The Study was carried out in Ranibari Community forest situated in the middle hills of Dhading district. This community forest is committed for the upliftment of the economic status of the marginal people through various innovative programs related to forestry. It has been performing different activities since its establishment like equal sharing of the forest products, income generating activities to improve livelihood of the users (by supporting the cultivation of bamboo, grasses etc), organizing different training programs (Governance, Advocacy, Leadership, Capacity Assessment etc), promoting plantation of the medical and aromatic plants, nursery development, development of infrastructure (Road, school building, bio-gas support program, drinking water, irrigation, small bridge and temple), providing different scholarships, books and magazine for library etc. This community forest is very renowned and has won one national awards due to its exemplary works in the community development activities through the management of the forest. It is also affiliated with the Federation of Community Forest Users Group in Dhading. (FECOFUN).
This is a Sal (Shorea robusta) dominant forest where Sal occupies about 85% of the total tree species and in the rest 15% Lagerstroemia parviflora, Sapindus mukorosi, Schima wallichhi and Terminalia alata are distributed all over the forest area. Under the ground vegetations Eupatorium, the common weed is abundantly found in the forest and the wild varieties of the some potential medicinal plants like Asparagus racemosus, Swertia angustifolia and Rauwolfia serpentina are also distributed throughout the forest. Users also have developed a demonstration plot in this research block for the promoting income generation activities for the users. Ranibari Community Forest occupies a total area of 151.87ha of the natural regeneration of the Sal forest under the foothill of the Mahabharat range. Previuosly, forest was almost naked with few scattered tress of Shorea Robusta and obnoxious grasses. The community took self initiation in the protection to of the forest since 1989 in the name of the Ranibari Community Forest User Groups when it was handed over by the community by government by the 1994. Since it has formed a typical model of the community forest in Dhading Distriorest. The denuded forest after protection has covered with Sal regeneration. The forest is well stocked with even age Sal seedlings with the few big Sal trees scattered throughout the forest. The forest is almost homogeneous in composition and it is divided into the seven block of the management. Out of the seven blocks are
a)      Social Survey: The Ranibari Community forests  has 510 household and the population is about 3000. Social Survey was done in 10% of the total household to know user’s perception about the litter collection practices, the season of the litter collection, its use and the policies adopted in their working plan. The information was collected from the users, executive committee and interest groups by using different methods namely, household survey, informal interviews and the group discussions as well as direct observations. In order to gather the information in depth, the following broad research questions were carried out:
Ø  Are the forest condition is good enough to provide the sufficient amount of the litter for the users.
Ø  What the community forest users groups do with the litter collected from the forest
Ø  Are they getting the sufficient amount of the litter from the forest? What do they do in the case of the insufficiency
Ø  Are there any policies made for the litter collection; regarding time frame, season and the quantity
Ø  What are the user’s perception regarding the removal of the litter from the forest and what do they know about the impact on the forest by sweeping out litter from the forest floor
Ø  What do they do in case of the litter prohibition form the community forest?
Forest Inventory
The inventory of the forest was done in research plot separated for the research purposes and where our litter traps were fixed. A circular plot of 0.04ha (11.28m radius) was made for the inventory of the plot. The measurement of the tree height and the diameter, species identification and the ground cover study were made in the sampling plot. Only those species having the diameter above 6 cm were considered in the measurement but the number of the total plants in the sampling plot was counted.
Litter Collection:
The study on the litterfall was started from August, 2005 to July 2006 for one year. A total 10 litter traps (1m2 with 1mm mesh) were fixed in the forest in 5m interval along base line made inside the sample plot. The net made up of the mesh nylon fabric was tied up with an iron frame to shape it as a trap and fixed it in ground soil and the water. The fallen leaves and the small twigs accumulated in the traps were collected every week for one year. The total amount of the litter fall in a year was calculated and then Sal leaves were sorted for the estimation of the net leaf fall. Leaf was oven dried in 400 C for the estimation of the amount of the dry leaves litter fall per hectare in a year.
Analysis of the Major Nutrient
Composite samples for every month were made from weekly collected leaf litter. One sample per month was selected from the composite samples and used for the chemical analysis. The total carbon (TC), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), total nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) were analyzed by using following different methods.

Total Carbon by Ammonium Ferrous Sulphate Titration
Calcium content by EDTA Titration
Magnesium by EDTA Titration
Total Nitrogen by Kjeldhaal Digestion
Phosphorous content by Spectrophotometric and
Potassium content by the Flame Photometric 

Note: Details will be published soon


Monday, 29 October 2012

Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013 – Register Your Team Now!

Are you passionate about the environment? Do you have innovative ideas for a greener aviation industry? Do you want to pitch your ideas to a global aerospace leader?  Here is your chance!

Airbus Fly Your Ideas challenges students worldwide to develop ideas for a greener aviation industry. Now backed by UNESCO, the 2013 competition is more exciting than ever before.
Fly Your Ideas is open to teams of 3 to 5 students from around the world, studying a first degree, Masters or PhD in any academic discipline, from engineering to marketing, business to science and philosophy to design.
You have until November 30th 2012 to register your team online at; or check out the discussion board on the Fly Your Ideas Facebook app here where you can find other students who share your interests and could form a team with you.
The final will take place in June 2013 when the best teams will present their ideas to a panel of experts, for a chance to win €30,000.
Find out more about innovation at Airbus and register your team here.

Apply for Equitas International Human Rights Training Program in June 2013 in Canada

Equitas is organizing the 34th annual International Human Rights Training (IHRTP) from June 9 to June 28, 2013 in Montreal, Canada. With support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Equitas has funding to award a limited number of bursaries to selected International Candidates.
The Program provides an opportunity for human rights workers and educators to deepen their understanding of human rights and of the essential role of human rights education in effecting social change. Participants from about 50 countries are equipped with innovative tools that enable them to enhance their action to defend and promote human rights and democratic values in their home contexts.
The 2013 edition will have a particular focus on the rights of children, youth and women. The exploration of human rights principles and instruments, ongoing critical reflection and inquiry, as well as extensive sharing of experiences allows participants to strengthen their capacity to engage in effective human rights education, and advance equality and human dignity thus leading to social change.
By the end of the IHRTP, participants should be able to:

  • Use a framework based on internationally accepted human rights standards and principles to analyze the issues and situations encountered in the work of their organizations 
  • Identify ways in which human rights education can increase the effectiveness of their human rights work 
  • Integrate a participatory approach into their human rights and human rights education work 
  • Indicate appropriate ways for putting their learning from the IHRTP into practice in the work of their organizations 
  • Explore networking opportunities essential for furthering the cause of human rights 
  • Determine strategies for promoting gender equality in their human rights education work 
  • Employ a basic evaluation process for assessing the results of their human rights education wor
The IHRTP is primarily designed for representatives of non-governmental human rights organizations (NGOs), national human rights institutions and government departments who have undertaken some human rights education training activities. In a limited number of cases, consideration will also be given to candidates affiliated with other types of organizations involved in human rights education. Organizations which nominate candidates must: have a demonstrated commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights have an established record for effective action be involved in human rights education activities such as training sessions, workshops, public awareness campaigns, advocacy, monitoring be committed to providing opportunities for their candidate to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the program within the organization.

Candidates from qualifying organizations must: 
  • be active employees / volunteers with their organization for at least two years be in a position to influence the human rights education work of their organization 
  • have knowledge of human rights principles and major international instruments 
  • be committed to transferring knowledge and skills gained during the program to colleagues and to others with whom they work 
  • be sensitive to the issues which arise when working in multicultural groups, and respectful of diversity 

The IHRTP participation fee is 5,540$ CAD. Funding opportunity through the support of the Canadian International Development Agency, Equitas has funding to award a limited number of bursaries to selected international candidates. A bursary includes full tuition fees (including room and board) for the 3-week training program as well as travel expenses. Once eligibility has been determined, the Selection Committee will award the bursaries to the International Candidates who best meet the requirements. Due to the limited number of bursaries available, there is no guarantee that the selected International Candidates will receive funding. 

The completed applications must be returned to Equitas by: November 21, 2012 for the International Candidates; March 28, 2013 for Canadians residents and citizens

The application must include: 
  • The completed Application Form (Part A completed by the Director of the Candidate’s organization; Part B completed by the Candidate) 
  • The Memorandum of Agreement duly signed by the Candidate and the director of the Candidate’s organization 
  • Two supporting letters from national and/or international human rights organizations (other than the candidate’s) familiar with the candidate’s work and/or the work of his or her organization 
  • A brochure (and/or mission statement) describing the candidate’s organization 

For further information about the program, visit this link and also the Official Website.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Fund raiser hiking !

Teachers from Kathmandu participated in the hiking event  organised by the members of NTNSE on October 16, 2012. They made 40+ km long fun filled hiking event a successful one.

Route for hiking was Bishnu Budhanilkantha - Dandagaon - Gurje Bhanjyang - Suirechour and back. The hiking event was organised to get a refreshment, adore nature and to meet new teachers from Kathmandu. The event was coordinated by Mr Subhash Thapa Magar.

Some pictures follow:
hiking up
hiking down


Friday, 19 October 2012

UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development 2014

In 2014, UNESCO and the Government of Japan are organizing the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development - Learning Today for a Sustainable Future (10-12 November) on the occasion of the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

The 2014 World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development will carry out a stock-taking of the implementation of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and celebrate the Decade’s achievements. The Conference will showcase initiatives, actors, networks and ideas that were stimulated by the DESD. Examples of good practice from all over the world will play an important role in identifying viable approaches to ESD, as well as key areas for future action.

Building on the Bonn Declaration from 2009, the Conference will draw out the relevance of ESD to all efforts to improve the quality of education. It will highlight the role of ESD for the transition to green economies and societies and as a catalyst for cross-sector planning and implementation of programmes in areas such as climate change, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction. It will also address how ESD can help move Sustainable Development policy and action forward to meet different global, regional, national, and local needs.

Reviewing the implementation of the Decade at the Conference will lead to the development of strategies for ESD activities after 2014. With the target date of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All (EFA) objectives approaching in 2015, and two years after the Rio+20 conference, the Conference will also highlight the relevance of ESD for the next set of global education and development goals. It will make concrete contributions to the post-2014 education and sustainable development agendas.

The Conference will be preceded by Stakeholder Meetings in Okayama, Japan, from 4 to 8 November 2014.

The meetings will bring together key groups such as UNESCO ASPnet schools, youth and higher education institutions and provide inputs and recommendations to the World Conference on Education.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Eco-friendly cars and the environment (Graphics for US informal education)

by Allison Morris and group (US based graphics for internet educational resources)

Green Cars Infographic
Original Post :

Friday, 5 October 2012

Enter the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest

Deadline: 30 November 2012
Open to: Individuals who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry and who do NOT reside in Cuba, Iran, New Jersey, North Korea, the Province of Quebec, Sudan, Syria or Vermont.
Prize: The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2013


As a leader in capturing our world through brilliant imagery, National Geographic sets the standard for photographic excellence. Last year, The National Geographic received more than 20,000 entries from over 130 countries, with professional and amateur photographers across the globe participating. Well, it’s that time of year again—enter today! Send National Geographic your best shots in any of these three categories: people, places, and nature. Please submit images that accurately reflect the captured moment in time. In other words, keep it real.
The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2013: A behind-the-scenes experience like none other.
During the contest, visit National Geographic weekly to view the editors’ favorites. Want to be your own judge? See every photo, choose your own faves, then share them with family and friends.

Who can enter?

Contest is open only to individuals who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry and who do NOT reside in Cuba, Iran, New Jersey, North Korea, the Province of Quebec, Sudan, Syria or Vermont. Employees of National Geographic Society, and its subsidiaries and affiliates, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, whether or not related are not eligible. For more insight in the rules and regulation see this page.


Grand Prize: $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar.
Two Runner-up Prizes: $2,500
The winning photos will be published in National Geographic magazine.
In addition to prizes, National Geographic photo editors will be showcasing their favorite entries every week on the website. Submit your photos early for a chance to be featured on the National Geographic website.

How to enter?

To enter the contest, upload your photos to the National Geographic Photo Contest website between September 1 and November 30, 2012. Enter as many photos as you’d like!
Each Entry consists of an entry form, a single image, and an entry fee. The entry fee is US$15 per entry. To enter, visit this page; complete an entry form with the required information, including your name, address, telephone number, email address, and photo caption; and submit along with your photograph and fee in accordance with the instructions that follow.
The Categories for entries are: (1) People, (2) Places, and (3) Nature (the “Categories”). There is no limit on the number of entries per person. Photographs must be in digital format. Only online entries will be eligible. No print or film submissions will be accepted for entry into this Contest. The photograph need not be taken with a digital camera; scans of negatives, transparencies, or photographic prints are acceptable. All digital files must be 5 megabytes or smaller, must be in JPEG or JPG format, and must be at least 1,600 pixels wide (if a horizontal image) or 1,600 pixels tall (if a vertical image).
Photographs must have been taken within two (2) years before the date of entry and may not previously have won an award in the National Geographic Photography Contest, the National Geographic International Photography Contest, or any, National Geographic Traveler photo contest in the last three years. For more details about the submissions, releases, the judging process, limitations and conditions see the same page.
The official website

“Name that Asteroid!” Student Contest

Deadline: 2 December, 2012
Open to: Students under age 18 from anywhere in the world
Prize: The Grand Prize winner will have named a part of the solar system! They will also receive other benefits and will be invited to participate in a public video or phone conference with OSIRIS-REx mission team members and the discoverer of the asteroid.

International Contest: Name that Asteroid!

Students worldwide have an opportunity to name an asteroid from which an upcoming NASA mission will return the first samples to Earth. Scheduled to launch in 2016, the mission is called the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). Samples returned from the primitive surface of the near-Earth asteroid currently called (101955) 1999 RQ36 could hold clues to the origin of the solar system and organic molecules that may have seeded life on Earth. NASA also is planning a crewed mission to an asteroid by 2025. A closer scientific study of asteroids will provide context and help inform this mission.
The asteroid received its designation of (101955) 1999 RQ36 from the Minor Planet Center, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The center assigns an initial alphanumeric designation to any newly discovered asteroid once certain criteria are met to determine its orbit.
“Asteroids are just cool and 1999 RQ36 deserves a cool name!” says Bill Nye, chief executive officer for The Planetary Society. “Engaging kids around the world in a naming contest will get them tuned in to asteroids and asteroid science.”


The competition is open to students under age 18 from anywhere in the world. Each contestant can submit one name, up to 16 characters long. Entries must include a short explanation and rationale for the name. Submissions must be made by an adult on behalf of the student. The contest deadline is Sunday, Dec. 2.
Children of employees of The Planetary Society, of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, of the University of Arizona, or of OSIRIS-REx team members, are ineligible to enter.

Entry Content

Eligible entries consist of the following information:
  • Proposed name - limited to 16 characters and meeting the naming guidelines
  • Justification paragraph - limited to 900 characters, including spaces
  • First name of child submitter - first name only, please.
  • Name of adult submitter - must be an individual over 18
  • Email address of adult submitter - this address will only be used to confirm the entry and communicate the results of the contest unless the submitter opts to receive other communications
  • Relationship of adult submitter to child contest entrant (parent/guardian or teacher/mentor) - used to determine whether additional parental consent is necessary for child participation
  • Age of contest entrant as of December 2, 2012
  • Optionally, entrants are asked to specify their country of residence in order for the Planetary Society to gauge international participation in the contest.
  • Optionally, U.S. entrants are asked to specify the zip code of their residence or school in order to gauge domestic participation in the contest.
Asteroids can’t be named just anything, of course.  The International Astronomical Union governs the naming of big and small objects in the solar system, and they have guidelines on how to name near-Earth objects like 1999 RQ36.


The Grand Prize winner will have named a part of the solar system! They will also be invited to participate in a public video or phone conference with OSIRIS-REx mission team members and the discoverer of the asteroid.
Both Grand Prize winner and runners-up will see their names, photos, and submitted justification paragraphs posted on the OSIRIS-REx and Planetary Society websites. They will receive a prize package of materials to hand out at their school that may include OSIRIS-REx mission patches, stickers, and posters; copies of Planetary Report Kids; a model of the asteroid; or other fun mission- and space-related items. (Prize package contents are subject to change.) They will receive one year of membership in The Planetary Society. And they will be invited to participate in a Google+ Hangout On Air with Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Application Process

The contest is open to kids under the age of 18.  To enter, parents or teachers must fill out an online entry form with the proposed name and a short explanation of why that name is a good choice. For any questions and concerns which you might have, please use the contacts.
For more information please visit the official website.

Dell Social Innovation Challenge Competition

Deadline: 28 January 2013
Open to: Any undergrad or graduate student in any field of study, from any country
Prizes: More than $105,000 in cash prizes and more than $350,000 worth of in-kind prizes


The Dell Corporation invites all undergrad or graduate students in any field of study, from any country, to enter the Social Innovation Challenge competition.
The Dell Social Innovation Challenge identifies and supports promising young social innovators who dedicate themselves to solving the world’s most pressing problems with their transformative ideas. They provide university students interested in social entrepreneurship with world-class teaching and training, as well as with start-up capital and access to a network of mentors and advisors.
They offer four entry categories to reward and support innovations at all stages of development. You can submit as many project proposals as you’d like.
  • Define: Project exists mainly in your head or a few sketched ideas, with limited research at this point.
  • Design: Project captured in a written plan, with some more formal market research, the beginnings of formal internal and external teams and more detailed elements such as financial model, pricing, marketing, customer segmentation and risk assessment.
  • Pilot: Product/service has been tested with a small group of clients/customers. Team continues making revisions based on field knowledge.
  • Scale: Product/service has proven successful and is being deployed in more than one geographic area. Enterprise has strong and sustainable financial and human resources models, plus a strong board of directors and strategic partners.


ALL university students in the world can enter the challenge – it doesn’t matter what school you attend or what you’re studying. Everything from early-stage ideas to mature projects that are up and running can compete to win. Your innovation project could be vested in starting a nonprofit organization, a for-profit business, a campaign, community volunteerism, university club or even other informal or formal operations.
Most projects are lead by teams of students. If you need more help, the full challenge website will let you to connect with potential team members or help others on their projects.


Since our launch, more than 15,000 students from 105 countries have proposed more than 4,500 ideas. We’ve awarded more than $450,000 to moe than 50 student teams around the world. Each year we fly challenge Finalists and Sepcialty Award winners to Austin, Texas (USA), for a weekend of mentoring, workshops, and other activities as part of the Verb Awards. Our Semi-Finalists are also matched with mentors for one-on-one coaching and feedback.
The 2013 challenge will offer and give out more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. Our Grand Prize Awards are chosen by judges, offering five cash prizes totaling $105,000.  The People’s Choice Awards are voted on in 17 categories by our online community–one $1,000 prize for each project earning the most online votes in 11 global issue areas and six geographic regions.
Global Award Rounds
Five Finalists will be flown to Austin, Texas, in May for a Finalist Week full of networking and mentoring with social innovation leaders. They’ll pitch live in front of our judges for these Grand Prize Awards:
  •  $50,000 Grand Prize
  •  $20,000 Second Prize
  •  $10,000 Third Prize
Two Expertise Award winners (selected by judges) will also attend Finalists Weekend:
  • $15,000 Tomberg Prize in Environmental Sustainability
  • $10,000 Best Innovation Leveraging Technology presented by Dell
200+ Semi-Finalists (selected by judges) will receive:
  • 1:1 Mentoring from DSIC-Certified Mentor to refine their project page and required Finals  materials (video pitch and project roadmap)
People’s Choice Awards
17 People’s Choice Award Winners will be selected via online voting.
  • $1,000 Each
  • 11 Focus Awards
  • 6 Regional Awards


Entering is free and easy! You can enter as many projects as you’d like, in any category.
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Read more:

SIEMENS Seeks Low-Tech Solutions for Developing Countries

Deadline: 31 December 2012
Open to: individuals, teams, organisations or enterprises fulfilling certain criteria from any region in the world
Prize: € 50,000 (1st prize); € 30,000 (2nd prize); € 20,000 (3rd prize); € 5,000 (20 runners-up each)


The Siemens Foundation has announced the ‘empowering people.Award’ – a new worldwide international competition to seek appropriate technical solutions for developmental activities. It aims to directly bring together low tech innovations for basic supply problems in developing countries. The “empowering people. Award” is addressed to individuals, teams, organisations or enterprises fulfilling certain criteria from any region in the world. Solutions entered have to already be in use or a feasibility study of the prototype has to be made available.
The aim of the competition is twofold: Firstly, identify winning solutions that can be further advanced with the developer and have them implemented on site. Secondly, these innovations will be prominently showcased in a central database on the award’s website as soon as the competition is closed and the entries have been evaluated. All intellectual properties will remain with the developer/developing team. Siemens Stiftung assumes no liability for keeping the entries confidential. The platform is an ideal opportunity for all the entrants involved to network and further evolve products and solutions if they so wish. Cooperation development organisations, NGOs and institutions may also approach inventors to further their products.
Following are the categories under which the ideas can be submitted:
  • Water & Waste Water
  • Energy
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Waste Management & Recycling
  • Housing & Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Information & Communication Technology


In order to identify promising inventions, the Siemens Stiftung Foundation has a sum of approximately 200,000 EUR for all these valuable contributions. The prizes will be allocated as follows:
First Prize: € 50,000
Second Prize: € 30,000
Third Prize: € 20,000
20 runners-up: € 5,000 (each)
All nominees will be requested to attend the Awards Ceremony in summer 2013 where they will have the opportunity to meet representatives from the world of politics, science, media and technology.


The “empowering people. Award” is addressed to individuals, teams, organisations or enterprises fulfilling certain criteria from any region in the world.
Submitting enterprises should fulfill the following criteria:
  • The enterprise develops solutions or products which have the potential of social impact for people in developing and emerging countries.
  • The enterprise develops solutions or products which are already successfully implemented to improve basic supply in developing or emerging countries.
  • The enterprise has a strong focus on job creation.
  • The enterprise follows values such as fairness, social responsibility and self-sustainability.
  • The enterprise is not a microfinance institution, private equity fund or deposit taking institution.


Applications have to be submitted online HERE. The deadline to submit applications is 31 December 2012. For more information, visit the original website HERE.


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