1. Nature Education Centres
Conservation Education Centre (CEC), Delhi (2005-2008): With a view to creating awareness about nature conservation among children and adults, a Conservation Education Centre - the first of its kind in the Capital – was set up at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. It was modeled on CEC Mumbai and has interactive educational displays, nature trails and educational resources for teachers, besides serving as a launch pad for teacher training and outreach programmes in Delhi schools, interaction with non-government organisations and decision makers.Funding Agency: Delhi Forest Department.
Nature Information Centre (NIC) at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (2003-2008): This Nature Information Centre aimed at raising awareness about the environment and to address the need for nature conservation,besides highlighting the importance of the park to Mumbai city. The Centre is equipped with a display room, auditorium, product counter and surrounded by nature trails for a complete conservation education experience. The Centre plays host to a number of visitors, the majority being school ad college students, who come to learn about wildlife and the environment. The NIC also conducts many awareness-raising and educator-training programmes.Funding Agency: British Gas and the Maharshtra Government’s Forest Department.
Nature Interpretation Centre at Sriharikota (2003-2006): CEC was involved in developing nature interpretation exhibits for the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. These displays would serve as educational tools to spread nature awareness amongst visitors.Funding Agency: ISRO.
Nature Interpretation Center at Pune (1999-2000): 12 nature displays were developed for a Nature Interpretation Centre in Pachgaon-Parvati in Pune. These colourful and informative exhibits were created to increase visitors knowledge about nature and conservation and also serve as tools for spreading awareness. These displays were based on various themes, from evolution to pollution and tips for a greener Earth.Funding Agency: Maharashtra Forest Department.
2. Hornbill Nature Clubs
Hornbill Nature Clubs for Underpriviledged Schools (2008-2009): Named after the iconic mascot of the BNHS, Hornbill Clubs were designed to be nature clubs with a difference. In 2007, Hornbill Nature Clubs were initiated and established in 2 schools for underprivileged students viz. Maharani Sai Bai Vidyalaya and Mangesh Vidyalaya. These Nature Clubs focused on imparting environment literacy through indoor and outdoor programmes. Class seventh was selected for the same. In 2008, Hornbill nature clubs were set up in 2 additional schools viz Harnai Vidyalaya and Gurukul Vidyalaya. Bi-monthly activities were carried out in the schools including games, projects and competitions. The ultimate goal i.e. imparting environmental education through fun and hands-on activities was achieved with great success, and the children had a memorable, once in a lifetime experience. Funding By: Dr. Mrudula Thakkar.
Hornbill Clubs in Mumbai and Hyderabad(2002): For first time, CEC established its Hornbill Clubs in Mumbai. With a variety of activities and fieldtrips, these clubs were initiated with a goal of providing fun and effective environment education. Hornbill Clubs were set up in 11 schools both Mumbai and 5 schools in Hyderabad to create awareness among children and teachers. Funding Agency: Burhani Foundation (India).
3. Education Material Development
Infrastructure Up-gradation Project for Conservation Education (2008-2009): Under this project, we developed following educational exhibits as well as installations at CEC. Innovative nature exhibits and study materials were created specially as a part of this project. The exhibits include interactive indoor displays, explanatory outdoor signage, wildlife dioramas and live exhibits such as an amphibian observatory and a marine aquarium. The project also encompassed the creation of novel learning tools such as nature field guide brochures and traveling education trunks. These new additions expand the scope of CEC and provide visitors with a complete experience.Funding Agency: MMR Environmental Improvement Society (a branch of MMRDA).
Nature Awareness Exhibits at Malshej and Mahableshwar (2006-2008): Twelve nature awareness exhibits for Malshej Ghat and Mahableshwar Maharashtra Toursim Development Corporation (MTDC) resorts were developed.These exhibits were inaugurated on 5th June 2007 on the occasion of World Environment Day. These eye-catching and informative displays were specially developed and installed in order to make the tourists aware of their natural surroundings. Funding Agency: MTDC.
Maharashtra Education Project (1994-2008): The project aimed at providing one of a kind environment education training for the teachers of Maharashtra.Teachers were invited to attend a free training workshop, where they were equipped with all the tools for effective environmental education through projects and interactive sessions. They were also presented with the teacher’s handbook- ‘In Harmony with Nature’; which was developed in English and Marathi. Teacher trainings were held throughout Maharashtra and the English & Marathi handbooks were distributed free among the teachers and Principals. These handbooks were reprinted and are available for purchase at the CEC product counter.Funding Agencies: Sir Dorabaji Tata Trust & ICICI Bank in collaboration with Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Dhanesh Newspaper (1997-1998): With the mission of ‘Nature conservation through education’, ‘Dhanesh’ , the environment wall-newspaper was developed by CEC to be disseminated amongst BMC schools across Mumbai. This newspaper contained a treasure trove of nature education and fun activities to promote environmental learning in an enjoyable manner. The ‘Dhanesh’ project received a wonderful response from both students and teachers of the participating schools.Funding Agency: State Bank of India. Water Conservation Booklet: This booklet, titled ‘Know your Water’ was developed for mass distribution to students visiting CEC. An in house production, ‘Know your Water’ is an in-depth resource on the different sources of water, water pollution and case studies close to home. It also contains projects and activities for the students to conduct themselves. Funding Agency: Burhani Foundation (India). 4. Programmes for Underprivileged Children
Green Champs Camp (2009-2010): The Green Champs Camp aims at providing an overnight nature camp for students. For an small registration free, students get to enjoy a weekend out in the forest, playing games, making crafts, performing skits and going on trails. This camp works towards making environmental learning fun and accessible to all enthusiastic students. Funded By: Dr. Mrudula Thakkar.
Conservation Education Programme for Underprivileged Children (2006-2007):
The project was commenced in January 2006 and activities, such as bringing groups of underprivileged children through NGOs for an all expenses paid visit to CEC, were initiated. The CEC was visited by 2535 students form 16 NGOs and 10 schools where they were provided with a free programme and transport. This project also encompassed a wide variety of innovative installations like new displays for the display room, signage for the nature trails and even a wallpaper magazine ‘Dhanesh’ that was distributed amongst BMC schools. This project made environment education accessible to students for whom such programmes may have been out of reach. As a take home a take home material, butterfly stickers and a CEC brochure were also developed. To date, the wildlife hide constructed at CEC, as a part of this project, has been a favourite exploring spot for the students visiting us.Funding Agency: Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Department of State, American Consulate.
5. Biodiversity Surveys
Biodiversity Survey of Nature Park in Navi Mumbai (2006-2008): A biodiversity survey of 2000 ha. for CIDCO was initiated in Jan 2006. The project aimed at documenting the flora and fauna along with the soil and water quality analysis. It also included nature trail mapping, identification of biodiversity rich sites and view points. The survey of all the seasons had been completed and collated into a comprehensive final report that will serve as a very important reference in future. Funding Agency: City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO).
Biodiversity Survey of ICI Campus in Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai (2004-2005): This survey of 19.2 ha of ICI land aimed at documenting the entire flora and fauna of the region and the biodiversity rich areas, as well as proposing measures for ecological restoration of wild areas and preparing a plan for the enhancement of plant surroundings. The survey comprised of biodiversity both during the wet and dry seasons. Funding Agency: ICI Chemicals India Ltd.
6.Training and Capacity Building Projects
Vacation Training Programme in Bioresources for School Children (2005-2006): A month long course was designed to train and enhance awareness in school children about the relevance of bioresources, and the relationship between bioresources and biotechnology. The main objective of the course is to impart training on sustainable utilization and conservation of bioresources and to create a better relevance of bioresources to everyday life. The course comprised of extensive field trips to different ecosystems within the city and also study visits to various units of environmental concerns. Besides, various interactive indoor sessions would also be conducted. Most of the activities were group activities, but individual project work were also be assigned. The course provided opportunities for hands-on-experience in the field and also interaction with eminent experts from various fields. This training programme with held for two subsequent years. Funding Agency: Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.
Natural History Assistanceship (2004-2005): Under this project, CEC was provided with funding to conduct trainings in order to develop resource persons to conduct nature education programmes for students. These trained individuals were used to conduct programmes at CEC and for nature clubs, initiated as a part of this project, to create environmentally active and dynamic young students. Funding Agency: Gambhirchand Oomechand Shah Trust.
Mobile Education Van (2004): The large, 27-seater bus was donated to CEC for carrying out environment education on wheels. This bus is used for outreach activities and doorstep programmes. Funding Agency: State Bank of India
Capacity Development Programme (1999-2002): This capacity building programme was adopted in order to improve the standards of conservation education and broaden the reach of awareness activities. It encompassed the development of new educational material such as displays, signage and audiovisuals as well as training workshops for teachers. A Green Teacher Kit was then developed as a resource material for teachers on natural history and environment education.The project also initiated a series of environmental awareness programmes in schools across Mumbai. Funding Agency: Tata Education Trust.
Manori Mangrove Conservation Project (2000-2001): Based on a survey of socio-economic patterns, attitude of people towards mangrove and dependency on forest in the Manori area, this project aimed at developing specialized educational material on mangroves and conducting field educational programmes for local residents and schools through meetings, field visits, slide shows, film shows and demonstrations. Many awareness activities were also carried out at CEC, Mumbai. As a part of this project, the Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Foundation also donated a minibus to CEC for conducting outreach activities. They also funded the revamping of the minibus, which took place in 2009. Funding Agency: Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Foundation.
Periyar Consultancy Project (1997-2000): This project involved a complete and comprehensive awareness-attitude survey of visitors, staff and locals at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. The objective was to study the awareness level and attitude of people towards forest resources, forest department and ecodevelopment activities. Based on the results of this survey, recommendations were made for new educational activities that could be carried out, new exhibits to be installed to raise the awareness level and outreach programmes to improve community relations. Funding Agency: Project Tiger.