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Last Updated Sunday July 05 2020 07:00 AM IST

Call of the Wild | Nature interpretation centers

Saikat Kumar Basu
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Call of the Wild Photo: Sourav Ghosh

Nature Interpretation Centers are important organization that provides as important window or platform for the exchange of knowledge, wisdom and experiences about nature and ecosystem related themes and displays for the public. They provide an important opportunity for the general public to share, explore, discover and enjoy various intricate details of local ecosystems and local environments through interactive tours, displays, lectures and/or presentations.

They serve as an invaluable platform for the public to be ecologically aware and learn to be environmentally responsible. Nature Interpretation Centers often serve as the Natural History Museum for the public to make them aware of various ecological and environmental themes like local biodiversity, global warming, climate change, environmental pollution, different ecosystems and biomes of the world, challenges and opportunities of wildlife conservation to mention only a few.

Call of the Wild Photo: Nandana Das

Nature Interpretation Centers are an invaluable tool for training and making kids aware of their surrounding ecosystem and environment through a number of interactive programs. The display of live as well as taxidermic wildlife specimens both invertebrates (colenterates, ctenophores, platyhelminths, nemaltahelminths, arthropods, mollusks, echinoderms) and vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) have a strong impact on young minds about the rich biodiversity surrounding them. The large collection of insects in boxes and or other invertebrates as jar specimens help children to appreciate the rich diversity in shape, size, color, forms, textures of different species co -inhabiting with humans under the same roof in case of different ecosystem.

The occasional live displays of various animal and plants provide nature study first hand for the children together with an opportunity to know their local ecosystems in depth. Nature Interpretation Centers have huge role and responsibility in training these young minds and our future generations to learn to be more environmentally and ecologically sensitive and also to explore and respect nature and appreciate the diversity of the natural world. The great complexities of the natural ecosystems always appear as a mystery for the general public; and the Nature Interpretation Centers can successfully serve as the platform to bridge that gap and bring people closer to the nature and natural ecosystems.

Call  of the Wild Photo: Saikat Kumar Basu

Several interesting workshops are organized by the Nature Interpretation Centers on numerous natural science topics such as intricate life styles of fishes, reptiles and amphibians unknown to the public, about animal behavior, plant intelligence, role of plants in sustaining any ecosystem, environmental pollution, migratory birds and mammals, snake venoms, about different natural pollinators (insects, birds, mammals and mollusks), luminous bacteria and fungi, deep sea fishes, coral reefs, deep ocean nature exploration, about widely divergent ecosystems like taiga, tundra, boreal forests, mangrove ecosystems, tropical rainforest, desert ecosystems, about grassland biomes, prairies, savannas, pampas, arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems and exploration of the Antarctica help in pollinating young minds and brains with new ideas and information about the nature.

The diversity of the topics highlights the various aspects of natural world and natural ecosystems and environments highlighted by the Nature Interpretation Centers. It encourages young minds to ask and explore various intricate questions about the nature and the natural world. Not only little kids or children, the Nature Interpretation Centers serve as model knowledge power house about life and life processes for all members of the public. It is a multi-dynamic centers that provides everyone the opportunity to learn about and appreciate natural biodiversity and the complexities of the process of organic evolution that occurred for several millions of years that shaped and reshaped our planet to reach the complexity that we see in the nature today.

Call of the Wild Photo: Saikat Kumar Basu

Nature Interpretation Centers are either private or public funded and are more common in developed nations in comparison to developing and under developed countries. There is a great need for the establishment of Nature Interpretation Centers in developing nations and the first step could be achieved through active science club movements to generate ecological and environmental awareness among the public. Such initiatives for establishing Nature Interpretation Centers need to be generously funded by the governments and various corporate houses in both rural and urban areas to promote environmental and ecological education and awareness among the general public.

Call of the Wild Photo: Saikat Kumar Basu

Several Nature Interpretation Centers work now in close coordination with various school boards and school districts to reach the young students through short interactive workshops organized on respective school campuses. An exposure to snakes with short documentary movies, posters, models and live specimens explaining their nature, behavior and role of the snakes in the natural ecosystems will go a long way in successful snake conservation efforts. Actively participating in such interactive workshops; the kids can see, touch, feel and communicate with the animals and the nature much better than just boring classroom lectures.

Call of the Wild Photo: Saikat Kumar Basu

It helps to answer their questions directly, help in the eradication of various socio-cultural superstitions associated with snakes, helping removing unnecessary fear about the animal and learn to love and respect them as any other wildlife. Such a wonderful model of wildlife conservation as initiated by the Nature Interpretation Centers can help educate children and public more effectively ad efficiently than any other available platforms.

Call of the Wild Photo: Saikat Kumar Basu

Nature Interpretation Centers; therefore, has very important role to play in our modern society impacted with rapid loss of forests and wildlife, environmental pollution and over crowding due to excessive and unrestricted growth of human populations. It can help the society to know and learn about nature and teach us to become environmentally responsible and ecologically sensitive to make the green planet a better and more accommodating place for our future generations. 

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