The Science Express with its models and displays chugged into the Vijayawada railway station much to the excitement of eager children.
All of you would have travelled by train at some time or the other. Train journeys are fun. But here was a special train that chugged into the Vijayawada railway station and stopped, waiting for visitors to come take a look.
The Science Express — Biodiversity Special (SEBS), a collaborative initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Environment and Forests, was a unique mobile science exhibition focussing on biodiversity and climate change, mounted on a customised 16-coach air conditioned train.
Students of local schools enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere when they were taken to the railway station to find out more about climate change. Making the best of the opportunity, local school managements made arrangements for visit of their children to the mobile exhibition. Excited kids gaped awe-struck at the images lined up along either side of the coaches. Walking in neat rows, they paused for a closer look at some of the depictions and discussed the subject with their friends before stepping ahead. Some of them pulled out their notes and began to jot down important information.
Volunteers standing at every short distance were only too happy to explain to the kids about the concepts behind the exhibits.
Before arriving in Vijayawada, the Science Express had covered 68,000 km across the country. With over 65 lakh visitors at its 230 halts over 830 exhibition days, the Science Exhibition was the largest, longest and most visited mobile expo in India.
The mobile exhibition was launched on June 5, on World Environment Day at Delhi. The main objective of introducing the train was to create awareness on biodiversity of India, climate change and similar issues, especially among students.
See and learn
The impressive working models and illustrations inside the coaches showcased the myriad biodiversity spread across the geographical zones of India — the Trans-Himalaya and Himalayas, the Gangetic Plain, North East India, the dessert and semi-arid zone, the Western Ghats, the Deccan Peninsula and the coasts and islands.
Ahmedabad-based Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC) and Centre for Environment Education (CEE), along with their knowledge partners, developed and put up this unique exhibition-on-wheels.