The Biodiversity Special Science Express

The Ministry of Environment and Forests in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology supported the creation of ‘Science Express –Biodiversity Special (SEBS)’ that will cover over 100 stations in two years.

SEBS was flagged off on 5 June 2012 from Delhi. The first phase culminated in Gandhinagar on 22 December 2012 after covering 18000 Kms at 57 locations and reaching out to 24 lakh visitors. The second phase began in April and will cover 19000 Kms, 62 railway stations, mostly which were not visited earlier with a stop of 2-4 days at each location.

The train consists of sixteen coaches, of which eight showcase biodiversity across different bio geographic zones in India. Three coaches have exhibits on Climate change, Energy and Water conservation. One coach houses Joy of Science Laboratory and another coach houses a conference room cum training facility.

The exhibition features over 300 large format visual images, 150 video clips and multimedia exhibits. Various complementary activities are conducted on the train as an integral part of the exhibition.

The colourful photo essay here tries to capture a glimpse of the visits to various platforms.

For more information contact:
Dilip Surkar,
Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre
Opp. Gujarat University, Navrangpura,
Ahmedabad 380 009, Gujarat
Ph: 079-26302914; Fax: 079-26306497

Detailed schedule of the current phase can be accessed at

The eight coaches hosting exhibition on Biodiversity, highlights the biodiversity found in different bio-geographical regions of India and various facets of marine, coastal, forest, microbial, agro biodiversity and its significance. It also highlights biodiversity and its linkages with livelihoods besides challenges for conservation. The 3-D exhibits caught attention of young and old alike. Many children during interaction said, they were seeing a particular species for the first time that they did not know India is so wide and diverse and there are beautiful animals in the wild besides the Tiger and the Lions.
A team of well-qualified, trained and highly motivated Science Communicators travel with the train, explain and interpret the exhibits, 
answer the queries, facilitate the visitors and conduct complementary activities. The team has been selected from across India.

The Joy of Science Lab housed in one coach is very popular with the students. It complements the biodiversity messages by presenting concepts taught in school in new and different ways. Students are able to see practical demonstrations of book-learnt content.

Local partners organized various activities on platform that helped relate to the local/regional knowledge. For example in Mumbai, local partner BNHS conducted an exhibition on the environmental concerns of Mumbai.

As a science communicator, one needs to become 
adept at juggling between explaining the exhibits to the visitors, while at the same time convening with fellow science communicators to discuss points that come to the fore during the day’s communications.

When on the train, a communicator generally looks out for the ‘first catch’ of the day. If the first sets of people or students are bright-eyed, inquisitive and pay attention to what we communicate, elation fills us and we want to deliver more”. Daniel Divyakumar H, Science Communicator

The teacher training coach provides an opportunity for the Science Communicator and Educators from CEE and other partner
organizations to interact with visiting teachers. Teaching learning methods and innovations, materials are shared in structured sessions. 
A total of 2,536 teachers participated in the teachers training in the

2012-13 phase of SEBS.

The core team that helped develop 8 coach exhibits on biodiversity personally visited and interacted with visitors of all age groups. These interactions helped analyze the usefulness of the display, shortcomings and feedbacks from individuals.This would help to meet the expectations of visitors in future visits.
Volunteers from schools and colleges also helped at several locations. This not only helped in engaging the visitors in meaningful activities but also took the volunteer educators to a learning level where they also felt more responsible.
The Pledge for Life Campaign highlights personal  actions and commitments to preserve biodiversity. Nearly 1.7 million pledges were taken in 12 different languages from across the places the train visited in the 2012-13 phase.
At each platform, drawing competitions were conducted for students visiting the train on the topic energy conservation. Many students came up with innovative ideas of conserving the fuel and energy. Each participant was awarded a certificate of participation and the winner a token cash amount.
“Voting for national microbe” was another popular activity. The voting was organized in order to create awareness about the wealth of microbes those are beneficial to humans. Visitors were encouraged to vote for a microbe of their choice. Children found it amusing to cast their vote for a microbe in a ballot box. Inside the train they were allowed to cast vote on an electronic machine. The most popular microbe turned out to be Lacto bacillus that helps in making curd, this was announced as children’s choice at a side even during COP 11 in Hyderabad.
Photograph Courtesy: Savita Bharti, CEE, and Science Express Photographer

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