We promote establishment of butterfly conservatories in urban areas as well as in adjacent to protected areas in and around the state of West Bengal and in India, as a tool for bottom-up conservation model. Creating a habitat for butterflies not only aids in creation of a reservoir of well accepted group of plants but also attracts several insect species, reptiles, amphibians, birds and even few lesser mammals. Our aim is to spread awareness about the importance of butterflies and its conservation among urban people as well as among rural and forest-fringe villagers. We also establish open-air butterfly conservatories in various schools and college premises and involve students in this conservation activity. We also train local, economically backward communities in laboratory work and recruit them as staff in our conservatories. Our mission is to create an uninterrupted butterfly corridor and we wish for everyone’s support in this effort. We strongly believe in our mantra, ‘Save Butterflies to Save the Tigers”.
Banabitan Butterfly Conservatory
Banabitan Butterfly Conservatory was the first open-air butterfly conservatory in India with a full laboratory support. Located inside the Banabitan Biodiversity Park amidst of the bustling city of Kolkata, this garden provides our visitors with tiny slice of nature. This conservatory has been up and running since 2010 and boasts around 100 species. Lifecycle Study of around 60 species out of that 100 species has been completed so far. The conservatory has become very popular among nature enthusiasts across the years and is often among their top places to visit. The idea of creating Butterfly Garden with a lab support was established from this effort of Nature Mates, became very popular pan India.
Eco Park Butterfly Garden
Eco Park located in Rajarhat, New Town attracts a ton of visitors, many of whom make the long journey to the city’s end to spend some quality time in our Butterfly Garden. Eco Park Butterfly Garden was set up in 2015 across a 3-acre area with funding from WBHIDCO. It not only has a full laboratory support but also a dome enclosure where the visitors are taken on a tour of all butterflies. Over the last 5 years, more than 100 species have visited our garden and lifecycle of more than 60 of those species is complete. A team of five members along with active volunteers dedicate their time in this garden to conserve butterflies and spread awareness among visitors. One can also participate in butterfly release event during his trip to the dome, which can undoubtedly be a memorable experience. We also host various educational tours curated for different age groups.
Jhargram Butterfly COnservatory
Jhargram Butterfly Conservatory is situated inside Jhargram Ecopark. The project was initiated in 2020 by the Forest Department and subsequent plantation was carried out. The conservatory is in its nascent stage and has immense potential because of its unique location. We are really looking forward to work more in this landscape and unlocking its mysteries.
Eden Gardens Butterfly Garden
In 2012, Nature Mates and forest department started their second venture at Eden Gardens. Eden Gardens has a much smaller visitor footfall compared to Saltlake Banabitan for which the project was developed in a small scale. Eden Gardens is one of the oldest gardens in Kolkata and is situated very close to the river Ganges. The soil profile of Eden Gardens allows for a variety of plant growth which ensures it to be a suitable habitat for multiple species of butterflies. This small-scale initiative because of those factors turned out as a very successful project. Many rare butterflies started showing up here.
Garpanchakot Butterfly Garden
Garpanchakot is a very popular destination for tourist in the district of Purulia, West Bengal. The area falls under the lap of Panchakot Hills and is a reservoir of various biodiversity. In 2005, in association of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation, Nature Mates created their first open air Butterfly Garden. In 2005, creation of Butterfly Garden was an absolute new idea in entire India. With limited knowledge and tremendous passion we created this garden, which still exists with glory. Though this garden does not have regular funding and care, because of the richness of the surrounding habitat, it still attracts more than 100 species of butterflies.
Butterfly Garden at St. Paul's Cathedral Mission College, Kolkata
Involving the youth in nature and wildlife conservation initiatives have always been a prime target of Nature Mates. St. Paul's Cathedral Mission College, Kolkata, invited us to be a part of the advisory committee of their ECO-CLUB. As an initiative undertaken by the club a butterfly garden was developed in the college premises. Nature Mates has been assigned with the task of creation and maintenance of the Butterfly Garden and from the initial days in 2019, the garden has now developed into a refuge for the local biodiversity. The entire preparatory stage and further proceedings are being carried out under the supervision of the members of the ECO-CLUB and the experts of Team Nature Mates.
Scientific intervention, based on field knowledge can change an area into a habitat for birds. Pakhibitan, of Eco Park is one such initiative which is maintained by Nature Mates, where we aspire to enhance the quality of habitat for birds to thrive comfortably.
Rajarhat Wetlands has always attracted birders from afar due to presence of several migratory as well as resident species. 197 species of birds have been recorded from this landscape so far.
Due to speedy urbanization and rapid reduction of this patch, a large number of those species will face the risk of habitat loss. This led to the idea of Pakhibitan in Eco Park, where a small undisturbed patch were converted into a bird habitat.
This new habitat for birds had become a great awareness point, where we guide the park visitors about various aspects of this wonderful life form, their need and their importance.
This project in collaboration with WBHIDCO is one of the most important futuristic approach towards conservation measures for avifauna within a congested urban landscape.