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Yunhe is a center (www.yunhecentre.com) for nature-based learning and community development created by Dragon Expeditions in May 2015 in response to the growing need to support vulnerable communities who are currently impacted by depopulation and at risk of overdevelopment.
The Yunhe Center is located in Zhonglu, a village in Danba County that is part of the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. With its picturesque scenery, the community also offers a unique perspective on rural Tibetan culture.
Zhonglu Village was purposely selected as the site for the program because it had been slated to be part of the government’s expanding development initiative. Concerned that Zhonglu Village would become another victim to overdevelopment, we were able to persuade the government to instead look favorably upon a new strategy : sustainable development.
The program’s main focus is achieving a balance between nature and modernity to create a self-reliant community in Zhonglu Village by providing a framework in which knowledge is shared, local resources are more efficiently and effectively used, and tourism is operated responsibly.
Our program can be divided into the following sections:
Environmental Sustainable Projects
Professionals and experts in the environmental field are invited to Zhonglu Village with the purpose of advising on ways to reverse environmental damage and to better care for the existing ecosystem.
Dragon Expeditions wishes to support the community of Zhonglu replanting more trees and saving endangered species of plants, mitigating water pollution, creating a framework for the three R’s of the environment (recycle, reduce, reuse) as well as introducing a dry toilet system and sewage treatment process.
Responsible Tourism: Participatory Trainings
Specialists in the tourism sector offer training sessions that will be available to anyone in the community who is interested in learning about sustainable and more responsible ways of tourism. Participants are equipped with basic and practical hospitality skills and gain greater knowledge about the methodology behind this alternative way of tourism.
Culture Preservation: Collaborative Platform
Experts in the areas of cultural and/or agricultural innovation work together with the community of Zhonglu to effectively and efficiently utilize local resources in designing, creating, and producing items such as woodworks and other crafts for sale. Local villagers also cooperate with experts in reviving the region’s traditional methods of farming to yield quality crops unique to the area.
Education: Enrichment Courses
Professionals with the appropriate experience offer purpose-designed courses to both locals and visitors. These courses include: nature education, language, crafts, agriculture, survival skills, local flora and fauna, and astronomy.