GUWAHATI, June 24 – The rich biodiversity of North East India has been depicted in fascinating detail in the Science Express -Biodiversity Special (SEBS) – a unique science exhibition on wheels focusing on biodiversity and climate change – which was formally opened for public viewing at the Kamakhya Railway Station on Saturday.
Not surprisingly, coach number four, which highlights the flora, fauna and natural landscape of the region, has been a hit with young people of different age groups. The focus on the North East incorporates images of its varied wildlife along with little known but significant botanical and zoological facts. It highlights facts such as NE being the centre of citrus plants, and the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve being the first Protected Area for citrus.
Preet, a young student, impressed by the show, said, ‘I did not know that my region is home to 50 per cent of total plant species found in India.’ There are 144 varieties of orchids in NE and many of the plants found in the region are also endemic, the exhibition points out.
A sizeable number of people, mostly students, visited the science express. There were demonstrators and resource persons in each of the 16 coaches, who explained to the visitors the themes and related aspects highlighted through pictures and videos besides scientific models.
“It has been a first-of-its-kind experience for the students. Those who visited the exhibition enjoyed it a lot, as it provided them both information and entertainment. Children from schools in interior areas including those from a school for underprivileged children also came and interacted with us,” Purnima Devi Barman of Aaranyak, a resource person, said.
“The interest shown by children and their guardians in the displays on NE biodiversity is encouraging. Young ones need to have such exposures more often,” she remarked.
The Joy of Science lab housed in one coach has also turned out to be a major attraction with students. Students in batches were seen performing various experiments and activities in this hands-on lab to understand concepts in biodiversity, climate change, environment and science in an interesting manner.
Of the 16 coaches of the SEBS, eight supported by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests are solely dedicated to showcasing the myriad biodiversity spread across the bio-geographical zones of India – the Trans-Himalaya and the Himalayas, the Gangetic Plain, North East India, the Desert and Semi-Arid Zone, the Western Ghats, the Deccan Peninsula, and the Coasts & Islands.
These eight coaches, highlighting the biodiversity in the country are focusing on the range of biological diversity, critically endangered species (IUCN Red list), biodiversity hotspots; domesticated biodiversity (agriculture, animal husbandry); biodiversity and livelihoods, bio-culture; threats/challenges (climate change, other anthropogenic); conservation measures; success stories/experiences/unique stories.
The science exhibition will remain open from 10 am to 5 pm till June 26.