WILSON COLLEGE NATURE CLUB
The idea of a nature trail is distinct from a bird watching expedition or a botany excursion. The nature trail as a nature experience covers the sounds, smells colours and shapes, which make up the natural world. It combines instructions with actual experience of nature in all its fullness.
A nature trail group has a maximum of 15 members with an instructor. A trail has parts where participants walk soaking in nature, parts where wonders are pointed out, parts where they discover sights and insights for themselves. The most active phase for nature trails is July to January, where one enjoys the best of monsoon as well as the pleasant onset of winter. The total group size varies from 45 to 70.
The most usual nature trails are the ones exploring different forest areas in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the wilderness area in Mumbai, or to Kakuli lake near Ambernath in the neighbouring township of Kalyan, or Karnala Bird Sanctuary about 65 km from Mumbai. Every year new trail areas are being explored.
Nature trails could be part treks to waterfall areas, and many of the hill forts which dot the Western region of Maharashtra.
These are weekend outings which attempt to incorporate nature orientation inputs, including astronomy as well as the ability to visit wilderness areas a distance over 100 km from Mumbai. These trails include sessions, slide shows, nature conservation music and nature games along with forest walks in the night and nature trails during the day.
Overnight trails have been to:
Raigarh Fort - the capital of Shivaji and the 17th century Maratha king - 160 km from Mumbai.
Mahuli Fort - an important hill fort 90 km from Mumbai
Suryamal - a wilderness area 120 km from Mumbai
Karnala Fort - trek up Karnala fort in the night, about 70 km from Mumbai
A climb up to Bhimashankar - a wildlife sanctuary and hill station around a pilgrim centre 227 km from Mumbai and a climb up of around 4000 ft. on a long weekend
Lohagrah Fort - near Lonavala, a hill station near Mumbai, 120 km away
Rajamachi Fort - a long trek near Lonavala
Nature Camps - the wilderness activity most looked forward at - Twice a year in the vacations - a week, two-week long camp.
These camps are organized for fifty students at highly subsidized rates at significant National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India.
These camps are intensive education camps with inputs in Natural History through interactive and creative exercises, slide shows, panel discussion of issues, astronomy, conservation, lifestyles, action plan, nature music, nature trails and sometimes adventure activities.
Camps have been to:
Radha Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary in South Maharashtra
Malvan Marine Sanctuary in South Maharashtra
Rehekuri Black Buck Sanctuary in Western Maharashtra
Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Maharashtra
Wilderness areas near Mahableshwar in West Maharashtra and Ratnagiri, in South Maharashtra
Wilderness area around Koyna dam in Western Maharashtra
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in North Maharashtra
Tadoba National Park in North Maharashtra
Gir National Park, the only reserve of the Asiatic Lion in Gujarat
Pirotan Marine National Park in Gujarat
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu
Fobangla Wildlife Sanctuaries and other wilderness areas in Sikkim and wilderness areas near Kalimpong and Darjeeling in North Bengal
Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh
The nature club also organizes activities and trails and camps for other groups including colleges like Sophia College, Mumbai.