Evolve Back, Kabini

Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, India

The Interpretation Centre set up to inform guests about the area’s culture and ecology. Built in the local vernacular style with local materials and labour.

Evolve Back, Kabini, a part of Orange County Resorts & Hotels Ltd., a company rooted in strong family business values, walks the talk in its mission ‘to provide exquisite holiday experiences, while preserving the purity of nature and culture of the land’. Its pioneering Responsible Tourism Policy developed in 2007 ensures its operations make a positive contribution to local communities and nature whilst minimizing environmental impact and inspiring its guests through exemplary educational experiences.

Barren farm land acquired in 2007 has been transformed into a verdant oasis planted only with local trees and other flora to revive biodiversity. Its Interpretation Centre includes a two and a half acre butterfly sanctuary, a lily pond, and Kuruba Tribal Hut to provide guests with an insight into this beautiful, environmentally and culturally fragile destination.

Guests are provided with a host of other educational opportunities to inform and change mindsets from birdwatching, night trails, boat safaris and nature walks with the Resort’s naturalists to interaction with villagers for an insight into local culture. Guests are also offered daily eco walks and workshops making bags from recycled newspaper to share the Resort’s sustainability practices. Briefings and notices encourage guests to conserve water and energy. Bikes and bullock cart rides are offered to reduce carbon footprint.

Evolve Back’s two off-site wind farms generate more energy than the Resort consumes. On-site initiatives include solar thermal for hot water, biogas, and energy saving measures implemented by the Resort’s proactive Green Team. Its approach to the four Rs – reduce, recycle, reuse and recover – is impressive, too, with a four-compartment waste segregation scheme in operation by housekeeping and a ‘no to plastic’ policy for water use amongst a range of other initiatives.

The Resort is built to reflect local style using local materials and labour. 90% of its staff are from the local community. A range of additional livelihood opportunities for the local community are provided such as music and dance performances, visits to a tribal house for a fee, annual rethatching and a buy back scheme for locally made crafts from their work with Tribal Welfare Groups.

Their broader community programme includes support for the local government’s polio campaign, the Vivekananda Hospital and periodic health check-up camps for villagers. The Resort also operates a school adoption programme providing materials, infrastructure, nutritional supplements, teaching support and scholarships to government schools in the area. Conservation initiatives include invasive weed clearance in surrounding villages, donation of safari fees for park maintenance, safari visits for local schoolchildren to the park twice a year and educational initiatives for the local community on the importance of protecting wildlife and the environment.

All round excellence and a worthy TOFTigers Award winner.

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Grounds include a 2.5 acre Butterfly Sanctuary.

Inspiring educational experience to change mindsets.

Off-site wind farm at Gajendragad, one of two owned by Orange County producing more energy than used by the Resorts

Children at Evolve Back’s adopted school

Resort buildings and guest huts are created in the style of the local Kadu Kuruba tribe using local labour and materials. Resort furniture has been created out of waste wood.

Annual resort thatching by locals distributes removed chatai among villagers.

Interiors are designed to exploit natural ventilation and light to minimise energy use.

The landscape has been extensively restored with indigenous planting and a waterbody.

Trees planted around rooms provide natural cooling.

The Kabini Museum, part of the Resort’s Interpretation Centre, presents the region’s ecology and culture.

A lily pond and a 2.5 acre butterfly sanctuary form additional components of the Resort’s Interpretation Centre.

A seating area with a well stocked nature library is provided. There is also provision to show audio-visual wildlife and environmental documentaries to guests.

Briefings are provided by the dedicated team of naturalists for nature education and to ensure responsible visitor behaviour inside and outside the park.

Guests are educated on the surrounding ecosystem and culture by naturalists in the Kabini Interpretation Centre. An active programme of educational activities including nature walks and visits to the local village are also offered.

Daily eco walk are arranged to inform guests about sustainability issues and to spread good practice.

Wildlife safaris are conducted with the Jungle Lodges and Resorts, a Govt. of Karnataka undertaking. Safari fees paid by the Resort are used for the upkeep and maintenance of the National Park.

Boats for safaris operate with the requisite safety and operational approvals in place. Traditional coracle boat rides are also offered.

Bullock cart rides and bicycles provide a low carbon opportunity to explore the local area.

Guests can visit a local village house for a fee, an income opportunity for the householder and cultural insight for guests.

90% of resort staff are from the local community and include 20-25 females.

A buy back scheme for hand crafted cards and other products is in place working with Tribal Welfare Groups.

Locally made handicrafts are on sale in the Resort shop.

The Resort contributes to the revival of local culture and sustainable livelihoods by providing performance opportunities, the only evening entertainment for guests. There are no televisions in guest rooms.

Local farmers are encouraged to supply organic food for the Resort’s kitchens. Restaurants have an ethnic/organic food section.

Cookery classes are offered to familiarise guests with local cuisine made from local produce.

The Hippocampus Library in the local govt. school was set up by the Resort to improve literacy. Furniture has also been donated to the school.

Educational sessions are run for young adults from surrounding villages on sustainable practices.

Periodic visits are made by Resort staff to surrounding villages to weed out invasive plants.

Solar power supplies hot water. The village is supplied with LED lights and power from the Resort’s solar installation.

Resort wind power generators at wind farms at Gajendragad, Karnataka and Thenkasi, Tamil Nadu generate more clean energy than their resorts consume.

A cluster based power consumption monitoring system is used to identify opportunities for energy conservation. Most Resort appliances are star rated. LED and CFL bulbs are used extensively. Rooms have a one switch system and no TVs to reduce energy consumption.

Energy and fuel consumption is monitored daily with targets set to minimise energy consumption every year. Guests are informed through verbal briefings on the need to conserve energy and water.

Colour coded four partition handbags are used for housekeeping to segregate waste into four streams.

Dry waste is segregated for recycling.

A Reverse Osmosis water purification system is installed in every room for safe drinking water.

The Resort has a ‘No to Plastic policy’. Glass bottled water is provided in the restaurant and recycled glass bottles for RO treated water in guest rooms. Ceramic bottles are provided for non-polluting toiletries.

Recycled newspaper bags are used and guests offered daily paper bag making classes to learn how to re-use paper through creative recycling.

Clean up of surrounding villages to remove plastics and other waste, is organised primarily to set an example. Assistance is also given to the Forest Department in periodic drives to pick up litter in Nagarhole National Park.

Food waste from kitchens is used in a piggery and a Biogas plant to generate methane for cooking; composting is undertaken producing natural fertiliser for use on the land.

Kitchen grey water is treated for re-use with a grease trap.

Rain water harvesting and extensive planting with indigenous trees, local shrubs and grasses recharge ground water. Resort water use is monitored and targets set to minimise water consumption. Guests are encouraged to save water.

A swimming pool water filtration unit is in place for water recycling.

A 100 KLD sewage treatment plant enables black water to be reused for irrigation thereby reducing water consumption. Grey water from the kitchen is treated with a grease trap.

Sludge from sewage treatment is used as organic manure on nearby farms.

Low pollution diesel generator is designed to reduce sound pollution through acoustic suppression.

Sensitive lighting to minimise light pollution.

A map of the resort is provided for effective visitor information and health and safety.

Safety issues are highlighted in the swimming pool area.