RISHI VALLEY INSTITUTE OF BIRD STUDIES & NATURAL HISTORY
Vivid descriptions of birds in J. Krishnamurti's writings, birdbaths on campus and rare books on ornithology all attest to a long tradition of bird studies at Rishi Valley. Over the years, as the green cover in the valley spread the number of birds grew; the latest count reveals that there are now about 200 migrant and residents.
In July 1991, Rishi Valley was declared a Bird Preserve and, in 1999 an Institute of Bird Studies and Natural History was established at Rishi Valley.
The Institute is devoted to protecting birds, to preserving bio-diversity and educating students and the public on environmental issues.
Other aims include:
- To conduct a Home Study Course in Ornithology
- To conduct short term field study courses in the valley for students
- To protect and enriching biodiversity in Rishi Valley and its environs
- To develop and maintain sacred groves and herbal gardens in the surrounding area.
- To carry out surveys of the flora and fauna of the valley
- To Establish a Natural History Museum and Library
- To monitor the status of the wetlands in the area immediately surrounding the valley with special emphasis on surveys of migrant birds.
- To interact with institutions and organizations concerned with wildlife protection, nature conservation and habitat care.
- Conduct Environmental Education Programmes for rural communities through interactive slide-shows, filmshows, field outings and illustrated Natural History publications in Telugu
The moving spirit behind the programme S. Rangaswami was awarded the Green Teacher Award by the Sanctuary Asia and ABN Amro Bank.
An intermediate level Home Study Course in ornithology was inaugurated in 1997. The course is intended to create an interest in birds and birdwatching as a hobby. It also aims to build an awareness about the greater conservation issues and environmental problems among the general public, especially the youth, Students for this course are drawn from all parts of the country and all walks of life. As on 30 th September, 2011, the enrollment for the course stands at 1294.
Students are drawn from all parts of the country and all walks of life. As on 30 th November, 2007, the enrollment for the course stands at 1001.
The Institute published a book, in 1994, Birds of Rishi Valley and Regeneration of their Habitats to celebrates bird life on campus. The book was reviewed in leading newspapers and journals; Sanctuary Asia magazine prominently featured a chapter of the book and Mahesh Rangarajan of the Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi described the writing as, ‘. . .vintage natural history, reminiscent of the late M. Krishnan.'