Bombay Natural History Society
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is today the largest non-government organisation (NGO) in the Indian subcontinent engaged in nature conservation research. In the 117 years of its existence, its commitment has been, and continues to be, the conservation of India's natural wealth, protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources for a balanced and healthy development of future generations. The Society's guiding principle has always been that conservation must be based on scientific research - a tradition exemplified by its late president, Dr. Sálim Ali.

For the past two decades BNHS has conducted wildlife research crucial for conservation of India's floral and faunal biodiversity. BNHS is known primarily for its excellent contribution of ornithological work under the leadership of late Dr. Sálim Ali; systematic wildlife research has been carried out by BNHS in other areas as well, especially on endangered species, ecosystems and protected areas. BNHS has been maintaining a natural history collection for research and education, which is recognised as national heritage collection. In order to assess the impact of developmental activities on ecology, BNHS has set up Environment Impact cell. The ENVIS centre of BNHS has been collecting, collating and disseminating information on Indian birds.

BNHS has over 5000 members across 30 countries. Membership of the Society is open to individuals, institutions and corporate bodies within India and abroad. Students (below 25 years of age) are given special concessional membership. On becoming a member of the Society, you can participate in variety of activities such as nature camps, nature trails, slide talks, film shows, natural history projects and conservation campaigns. You can buy our products and publications at concessional rates. Library facility (for reference only) is provided free of charge to all members of BNHS along with "Hornbill" a quarterly magazine on wildlife.

About Conservation Education Centre

In order to develop a broad-based constituency for conservation BNHS has established a Conservation Education Centre (CEC) on 33 acres of land on the outskirts of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, (near Film City, Goregaon) given by Government of Maharashtra in 1983, during its centenary year.

The Centre’s mission is Nature Conservation through Education and the aims are:
  • To develop innovative techniques and aids for nature conservation education
  • To provide consultancy and training service in conservation education techniques
  • To provide a platform for advocacy and liaison with decision makers
  • To build support for biodiversity conservation in and around protected areas
  • To demonstrate and promote environment-friendly practices
  • To become the national centre of excellence for nature conservation
The Centre consists of three interactive public areas namely, Display Hall, Discovery Room and Auditorium, and has a separate administrative wing. The Centre is well equipped with communication equipment and has a variety of interactive educational displays. It also has three mobile units, which are mainly used for the Centre’s outreach programmes.

The 33-acre of land, which is well covered with deciduous forest, is used for conducting nature trails. Five nature trails have been designed and have interpretation stations installed on the trails. A variety of small wildlife can be seen while on the trail, which is very attractive to visitors to the Centre.

Students are one of the main target groups of CEC activities. The Centre interacts with about 15,000 students and hundreds of teachers every year with following objectives :
  • To foster clear awareness of and concern about economic, social, political and ecological inter-dependence in urban and rural areas.
  • To provide every student with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitude, commitment and skills needed to protect and improve environment.
  • To create new patterns of behavior of individuals and groups and society as a whole towards the environment
Within a year of the Centre’s operation, from June 1996, there are many indicators of success of these visits visible at the school level in the form of nature clubs and environmental projects taken up by the students. Apart from the school students, the Centre has been implementing various environmental awareness programmes for different groups such as teachers, teacher trainers, government officers, NGO workers, defense officers, police and customs officers, journalists, decision makers and corporate groups. As a part of outreach programmes, CEC has been working with people living in and around protected area to develop their support for conservation. The Centre has a team of experienced and committed educators, who offer a variety of standard and tailor-made educational programmes for appropriate to wide range of target audiences.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the stage, where we will reach the irreversible destruction, is not far away. All over the world, nature is paying back to human population in the manner unprecedented until now. If proper steps are not taken at different levels of the society, the man as well as any other life form may not survive long. Every person and institution should take up the cause of nature conservation in their own capacity. Every such action will have short term and long term positive effect and may be instrumental in saving life in nature. BNHS is trying to achieve this by creating awareness, which needs massive support of volunteers.

For details please visit web site

(This report was filed by Prashant Mahajan, Senior Education Officer, Conservation Education Centre, BNHS.)

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