Caring For the Darjeeling Region
Replanting trees is essential for reversing soil erosion on the steep slopes of the Darjeeling region. In 1992, Teekampagne initiated the Project S.E.R.V.E. – Save the Environment and Regenerate Vital Employment – to address this need. S.E.R.V.E., funded entirely by Teekampagne, is implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 1996.
Today, an area of 210 hectares has been reforested. 22 tree nurseries have been established. 260.000 seedlings were grown in the last year alone. S.E.R.V.E. is also dedicated to improving the socio-economic conditions of the inhabitants of Darjeeling Hill. It has carved a niche among the conservation-oriented non-governmental organizations of the region, and much has been accomplished:
Environmental education and awareness programs are bearing fruit. 13 schools are working closely with our WWF project; their activities include nature treks, bird watching, and various exhibitions and workshops. Research activities range from the recycling of plastics to the conservation of endangered bird species. Workshops on medicinal plants teach the local population how to benefit these natural resources.
Collecting rainwater enables a small water power plant to produce energy for 10 households in a remote area of Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a fascinating piece of engineering and a major tourist attraction, stops at Batasia Loop, where S.E.R.V.E. has laid out an eco garden which provides information about organic farming and the regional flora.
In the near future, 300 hectares of land will be reforested in Senchal, the area which provides the town of Darjeeling with water.