If you are up to some adventure activities and nature study is something you enjoy, then here’s some exciting news. Siliguri’s Himalayan Adventure and Nature Foundation hosted a nature study and adventure summer camp for school students at Chimney hamlet around six km from Kurseong.

Spurred on by a mission to protect wildlife and the environment, the setup explored the spirit of adventure among students. The 27-year-old environmental group enjoys the distinction of hosting nature study camps for students all round the year across North Bengal. There were as many as 55 students at the summer camp from 20-23 May.

Shankar Majumdar, secretary, HANF said, “Chimney hamlet is quite near Dowhill at a height of about 6,000 ft and is brimming with nature. This kind of summer camp deals with a wide range of unique nature activities including camp craft, night stay in forest areas and adventure activities like river crossing, zip line, making of rope bridges, climbing spider nets and rock climbing.” Apart from Kolkata, the summer camp draws students from across North Bengal including Siliguri, Malda, Murshidabad and Jalpaiguri.

HANF is incidentally the only one environmental organisation in North Bengal that hosts an annual campers meet for students starting from the age of 18 years and above. Majumdar said, “There are camps organised for students in different age groups and the meet was held on 5 May. The camp stressed on illegal felling of trees across the state including Lataguri in the Dooars district. There were around 115 campers from all districts of North Bengal.”

Mental fatigue and depression are quite prevalent among the younger generation particularly students. Majumdar further said, “The camp focused on ways to detect depression in children and prevent the disease since it increases suicidal rates among teenagers.” Dr Nirmal Bera, head of the psychiatric department, North Bengal Medical College, addressed students by focusing on the topic of depression. The environmental outfit also organised a course in high altitude adventure at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in the vicinity of the Bhutan border in March. Majumdar said, “Those interested to shape their careers in mountaineering attended the course for students from the age group of 16 to 25 years. The duration was for six nights and seven days.”

Apart from these, the nature foundation is all set to observe Everest Day on May 29 and pay tribute to the great mountaineer, Tenzing Norgay at Darjeeling More in Siliguri. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary were the first personalities to conquer Mount Everest, back in 1953.