Public consciousness about biodiversity and the environment, and their importance for sustainable development is not so widespread in India. This article focuses on non formal environment education through nature interpretation centres and science museums. Information is provided about the potentiality of museums in providing recreation-cum-education to the general people and children. Some universities have small museums, botanical gardens, and other biodiversity exhibits for instruction and research, but these and the few
zoos and wildlife centers are poorly funded or managed.Environmental problems like pollution, population explosion, deforestation, natural calamities, destruction and poaching of wildlife, overuse of pesticides all need
serious attention. People are generally unaware of the importance and significance of the surrounding environment due to illiteracy and lack of education. For school children, Environmental Education has been regarded as a compulsory subject uptil the senior level. Even Environmental Education is a subject of Graduation. But it is doubtful whether the students are really learning to protect the environment and work for its preservation or just learning it by heart to score in their exams. So, theoretical learning is not at all fruitful until supplemented by use of all five senses. In the context of globalization and rapid advancement of technological arena, Museums should take the challenge of preserving the environment. Creating Environmental awareness will not only be beneficial for the society, but at the same time museum will too be benefited. For environmental degradation in form of pollution is harmful for museum buildings and objects. Environmental education seeks to empower individuals with an understanding of environmental problems and the skills to solve them. Besides the traditional role of documenting and displaying, educational programmes, a Science Museum and Natural History Museum can take up challenges of implementing and inculcating the environment awareness to all target groups.

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Museums for biodiversity conservation and environment education

Ishani Chatterjee   Department of Museology, University of Calcutta

Public consciousness about biodiversity and the environment, and their importance for sustainable development is not so widespread in India. This article focuses on non formal environment education through nature interpretation centres and science museums. Information is provided about the potentiality of museums in providing recreation-cum-education to the general people and children. Some universities have small museums, botanical gardens, and other biodiversity exhibits for instruction and research, but these and the few
zoos and wildlife centers are poorly funded or managed.Environmental problems like pollution, population explosion, deforestation, natural calamities, destruction and poaching of wildlife, overuse of pesticides all need
serious attention. People are generally unaware of the importance and significance of the surrounding environment due to illiteracy and lack of education. For school children, Environmental Education has been regarded as a compulsory subject uptil the senior level. Even Environmental Education is a subject of Graduation. But it is doubtful whether the students are really learning to protect the environment and work for its preservation or just learning it by heart to score in their exams. So, theoretical learning is not at all fruitful until supplemented by use of all five senses. In the context of globalization and rapid advancement of technological arena, Museums should take the challenge of preserving the environment. Creating Environmental awareness will not only be beneficial for the society, but at the same time museum will too be benefited. For environmental degradation in form of pollution is harmful for museum buildings and objects. Environmental education seeks to empower individuals with an understanding of environmental problems and the skills to solve them. Besides the traditional role of documenting and displaying, educational programmes, a Science Museum and Natural History Museum can take up challenges of implementing and inculcating the environment awareness to all target groups.

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