The students have been busy building a unique ‘Bio-Reserve’ in Patna in a plot of land gifted to them by the Patna Jesuits. His Excellency Dr. A. R Kidwai, the Governor of Bihar laid the foundation stone on Nov 3, 1997. The Bio-reserve is not a Biosphere Reserve which is already existing. It is visualized by the students as a nodal resource Centre for the rejuvenation of the Earth.
First of all the place would be a resource centre for bio-diversity. It will be a place where one can collect varieties of plants and herbs for promotional purposes. Starting from household plants that are fast disappearing, the Bio-reserve will help the people to identify vital ecological links that are edging towards oblivion. We would like to plant at least 500 varieties of trees and plants in the Bio-reserve. Already over 400 species of rare and vanishing trees have been planted and the place looks like a thick rain forest. As rarest of species, these trees and plants will grow up as demonstration pieces to a generation who otherwise would not ever see them. Most of them are already identified and tagged for easy reference and study. Also they will serve as a collection of vanishing germplasms to be preserved and propagated through the medium of a genetic nursery. A genetic nursery has been going on from 1989.
Hundreds of visitors arrive every day to make studies on the rare trees and herbs here. We have a knowledgeable resource person to guide them and take them around the campus.
Secondly the bio-reserve is visualized as a place for environmental education. Groups of people and potential leaders, esp. of the students congregate here to imbibe basic lessons in environmental education. A set of dormitories and huts are built to accommodate the students and visitors from the rural areas.
Thirdly it has become a place where an eco-friendly way of life demonstrated with adequate and sustainable examples in architecture, conservation of water esp. through its recycling, waste disposal, harnessing of solar energy and in living close proximity to nature.
More Bio-reserves: After a period of ten year since the work began on the first Bio-reserve in Patna, Tarumitra students are convinced that many such projects are possible. A combination of St. Patrick’s and St. Vincent’s in Asansol, West Bengal has demarcated a sizeable part of their large campus as a bio-reserve. Bro. Frank Gale CFC of St. Patrick’s has been collecting herbs and plants for the plot. Tarumitra Bio-reserve in Patna has volunteered to share over 100 varieties of plants with them.
Sr. Daphne Sequiera RSCJ has been planting another bio-reserve at Ashankur, Maharashtra with active support from the Jesuit Fathers of the Pune Province. She has been overseeing the plantation in a ten acre plot of the organization with varieties.
The Medical Mission Sisters (MMS) under the leadership of Sr. Ruth Manianchira is turning a whole hill at Bibwewadi, Pune into a lush green corner of the city. They have also water harvesting programmes along with the conservation of bio-diversity.
Sumit Edwin SJ and team of Patna Jesuits started planting a bio-reserve in the historical city of Bodhgaya way back in 1999. Today the Jeevan Sangham compound is a variety rich green belt in the area. A similar effort has been successful made by Tony Pendanath SJ at Rathanpurva, West Champaran.
Of late Rappai Puthokaran SJ of Gujarat has been co-ordinating a bio-reserve with emphasis on Advasis and their culture.