A fun way to know environment and wildlife

A school kid when first time introduced to science books especially to those chapters that talks about environment, feels when will get to see those animals, plants, deserts and ponds in real. To fulfill these desires of young kids, a National Museum of Natural History was established way back in 1972 by the late PM Indira Gandhi.

The first floor takes you to a dark room which is lighted in parts and reveals formation of earth, ocean and evolution of life in the form of single cells. This is the introduction to Natural History, which showcases natural habitat and evolution of plants and animal life. Stuffed animals are placed behind glass shelves to give a real feel to the museum.

An interesting part of this gallery is the presence of a 100 million years old real fossil of Ammonita which was excavated from Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu and 160 million years old dinosaur bone from Godavari Valley.

As you head towards Gallery 2 on the second floor, you enter the world of Nature’s network, which makes you understand how every organism on earth is connected to another. It highlights the major ecosystems of the world, food chains and food webs. The tableaus show how animals became extinct and how some are more endangered owing to rising population, pollution and poaching.

Therefore, to create awareness about the conservation, the museum has a separate floor which educates children and those visiting the museum about the consequences of ruining the eco-system.

A dramatic life size diorama of a typical deciduous forest presents two contrasting pictures. It shows one with a rich, balanced forest ecosystem and the other with a deforested and barren terrain.

The deforestation is presented symbolically through an oversized model of human hand uprooting a tree. The other sections exhibit how people in different regions have fought to save their environment.

A temporary exhibition on Intangible Natural Heritage informs one about ancient traditions of our country like Ayurveda. It also highlights the puppetry and folk dance of different states. To make this entertaining for kids, animated folk tales are being played on the LCD screens. 

“We hold workshops for the kids and make them visit biodiversity parks, bird sanctuaries, wetlands and zoos to give a detailed view of what they study in schools.  Recently, artist Sunoj D educated school students about seed-packed mud balls techniques which if thrown in any  cultivable soil grows into plant,” says Reena Dey, Head of Office, National Museum of Natural History.

She says, “We also conduct winter camps and take students to Aravallis for a day or a two. Secondly, we give Young Environmentalist of the Year’ award from those who qualify the written test. We also publish a book  ‘The tryst with nature,” where we publish poem and essays written by school students.”

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