NMNH - Promoting Environmental Awareness
National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), an institution devoted to environmental education under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests will celebrate its 32nd Foundation Day along with the celebration of the World Environment Day, i.e. on 5th June 2010. The museum owes its genesis to the Late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, who while considering new projects to be initiated in 1972 – the 25th anniversary of India’s Independence – decided that the country needs a museum of Natural History to depict its rich flora and fauna, to provide an out-of-school facility for the education to children and to promote environmental awareness among the masses.
The museum opened its doors to the public in FICCI Museum building, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, on 5th June 1978 with a gallery on Introduction to Natural History, coinciding symbolically with the World Environment Day to emphasize its role in environmental education. From the initial Gallery 1, the NMNH has grown substantially during the last 30 years, by the addition of three more Galleries, a Discovery Room, an Activity Room, and a Bioscience Computer Room. It conducted a variety of educational programmes and brought out a large number of popular literatures. In addition the Museum established three offices for Southern Region (Mysore, Karnatka), Central Region (Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh) and Eastern region (Bhubaneswar, Odissa). A fourth Regional Office has been established for Western Region at Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan). Land for the fifth Regional office for North-East has been taken over in Gangtok (Sikkim) recently.
The NMNH undertakes environmental education through the means of various educational programmes and exhibitions. A variety of programmes including summer and winter vacation programmes attract students. Special workshops on low cost teaching aids are found to be popular with schools. Another emphasis of the Museum is special programmes for disabled people. In fact it was the first Museum in Asia to publish Braille publications.
At the international level, the NMNH is active with International Council of Museums. The NMNH collaborated with UNESCO for Darwin200 programme in 2009. Recently the NMNH was selected as one among the top ten Natural History Museums in the world for preparation of an International Exhibition on Climate Change to be inaugurated to coincide with Earth Summit 2012.
Young Environmentalist of the Year Award (YEYA) is an national level award given by National Museum of Natural Museum (NMNH) (Ministry of Environment and Forests) every year to the best-performing teenager in the of age group of 13 – 16 years on the occasion of its Foundation Day.The aim of the award is to create awareness among teenagers to observe and understand nature and to encourage them to play an important role in conserving nature and wildlife.
This year the YEYA was selected through a Written Quiz Contest held on the occasion of Earth day, 22nd April 2010, at five venues i. e. in New Delhi and at the Regional offices in Mysore (Southern regional Office), Bhopal (Central regional Office), Bhubaneswar (Eastern regional Office) and Sawai Madhopur (Western regional Office). The theme chosen for the contest was “Our Biodiversity”. The eligibility was fixed for class IX & X students.
The winner will be decorated with the title of “Young Environmentalist of the Year Award 2010”.
This year Ishita Vishnoi has been awarded the “Young Environmentalist of the Year Award - 2010” for showing best performance in the National Level Written Quiz Contest conducted by National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi. She studies in St. Thomas School, Mandir Marg, New Delhi-110001. YEYA 2009 was awarded to Aviral Saxena, a student from Jawaharlal Nehru School, BHEL, Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).