The Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) Conservation Education Centre (CEC) is an unexpectedly large patch of greenery right inside a busy metropolis like Mumbai. Located next to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Film City in Goregaon East, the centre conducts various “edutainment” programmes for all age groups, on a regular basis and on request.
The children and parents from Lokhandwala Foundation School, through the Interact Club, had the opportunity of joining a monsoon trail session this morning. There were more than a hundred people, many from the medical fraternity (who had organised this session). The group was divided into smaller ones of 15-20 members, each led by a BNHS volunteer guide. The forest has five trails and each group was taken on a different route, across the trails.
Our route, according to our guide Niket, was said to be the most intense one, leading us through a gushing stream which during the summer would be dry land. It needed quite a bit of concentration to navigate the slippery boulders, ascend and descent the mounds, and efforts to keep our shoes dry were totally in vain. We were eagerly looking out for the birds but apart from the crows, there were few visible this morning. Instead, the 90-minute odd walk revealed several other gems of nature. We learnt many new things from Niket – about the trees, flowers, fungi, butterflies, crabs and many other life forms that are found in this forest. Much effort has been taken in putting signage to educate people who may wish to wander around on their own.
“The forest is not on the internet.” So true!
It is also not in books. No place like the real thing.