Heart & Soil, a unique travel experiences company in Mumbai, connects you to Nature with its simple yet unforgettable trips. Coming up is Strawberry Fun – a strawberry farm visit in Panchgani that leads into a riverside camping trip in Wai.
Goregaon Highway Pulse catches up with Nehal Shah, founder – Heart & Soil. This media professional-turned-nature trail curator is bursting with ideas to connect parents to children and both to the great outdoors.
Nehal’s ideas range from astronomical to agricultural, from wilderness to wanderlust. She plans star-gazing weekends, real farm visits, tiger trails and village stays. And all of this to encourage the busy and stressed out parent to enjoy an unforgettable time with his or her child.
I myself have been on Heart & Soil trips and am overwhelmed by the experience. The bonding between children in uncanny and spontaneous, as Nehal is careful about each small group she bands up. Her attention to each detail makes the adventure so enjoyable. Her enthusiasm for Nature is immediately infectious. And, lastly, each trip fits within a reasonable budget to enable more families indulge in Heart & Soil experiences.
Be sure to sign up for the upcoming Strawberry Fun scheduled for January 27 and 28, 2018. All details are at the end of this story!
How and why did you start Heart & Soil?
Nehal: Many of my first, most cherished childhood memories originated from direct experiences with Nature. This is important to keep in mind since kids today have considerably less freedom to play outside by themselves than their parents did. When kids develop an early appreciation of nature it not only makes them more likely to protect the environment as adults but will also sensitise them to vital issues like ecological balance and the value of biodiversity, making their world view richer and more inclusive.
Due to the lack of outdoor play for kids in today’s time, I strongly felt the need to imbibe the outdoors as an integral part of one’s childhood. When I become a mother and saw my son growing up with limited opportunities for outdoor play, I was motivated to offer him opportunities to explore the outdoors. That’s how I started Heart & Soil.
On an individual level, when kids observe, reflect, record, and share Nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are participating in a process that promotes creativity, problem solving and many other constructive effects.
Tell us a bit about yourself in terms of your personal interests, professional and family background
Nehal: A Mumbai resident, I was blessed to be born in a Nature-loving family. We all share a common passion for the environment.
Once I become a mother, as a natural progression I started a Nature club Heart & Soil, enabling parents and kids to spend quality time outdoors rather than being cooped up at home in front of the television.
Hailing from a media background, I already had an experience in organising events and my passion was soon a reality.
From tiger trails to meteor shower spotting – how has the response to your Heart & Soil trips been?
Nehal: Overall, the initiative has been well received and parents are elated to have a platform where they can bond with their kids within the lap of Nature.
Also, it brings together like-minded parents and encourages them to get outdoors with their kids even if they do not have their own family or friends joining them. It helps them spend vital quality time with their kids.
Where do you hope to take Heart & Soil to, in the future?
Nehal: Having started with wildlife excursions, the objective is to introduce kids to experience wildlife in its natural habitat rather than in the restrictions of zoos.
In the future, I would like to initiate excursions that would motivate parents and children to experience varied cultures.
I would also be introducing various initiatives to involve kids in active conservation of our planet like plantation drives, recycling, waste management, composting and more such.
Details of Strawberry Fun at Wai (Enroute Panchgani) by Heart & Soil
Heart & Soil invites you to experience riverside camping coupled with a trip to a strawberry farm with your child, in the quaint village of Wai in Maharashtra.
Schedule for Strawberry Fun
Day 1: 27 January (Saturday)
12:30pm to 1:00pm – Arrival & Allocation of Tents
1pm to 2:00pm – Veg Buffet Lunch for all campers
2:00pm to 5:00pm – Swim in the river with Life Jackets & Dinghy Boat Ride.
5:00pm to 5:30pm – Evening Tea with Snacks : (2 Desi Vada pav each pax)
5:30pm to 7:00pm – Try your hands & Archery & Air Rifle. Enjoy some free time!
7:00pm to 8:30pm – DIY Veg barbecue(Paneer & Potatoes-200gms)
8:30pm to 10:30pm – Dinner ( Veg Buffet)
11pm Onwards – Campfire
11:30pm Onwards – Sleep under a sky full of stars
Day 2: 28 January (Sunday)
8:30am to 9:00am – Tea & Breakfast
10:00am – Tractor ride to the strawberry farms to pluck the fruit right from the farm.
1 Parent + 1 child- ₹4700 ; Extra Adult- ₹2800; Extra Child- ₹1900
*Excludes Transportation, can be arranged at an additional cost
*Children above 8 years will be considered for the same rate as an adult
*Each participant will get 1 strawberry box (500 gms) as a momento
• All activities mentioned in the itinerary under expert supervision
• Group Tent (with Sleeping Gadi/air bed; Pillows and 1 Kashmiri Kambal)
• Shared Washrooms Rooms and Toilets tents are available at the campsite with running water.
• Meals – Lunch , Evening Snacks & Next day Breakfast (Village Cooked). Vegetarian Meals only
• Water would be mineral for drinking and borewell for cooking
• First-Aid Kit
Booking will be considered confirmed only after receipt of funds in the mentioned Bank Account. A reservation and full payment should be completed to reserve your seat.
Full name / Contact Details / Form of payment or any queries should be sent to email@example.com 9820857710/9819923115.
Registration Form – http://bit.ly/2BC6lJN
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