Projects

 “Where is temenen going? Environmental education”

 

 

Introduction

Achieving universal primary education is one of the Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations. Therefore, reaching remote villages or communities in developing countries such as Venezuela, through the dissemination of knowledge and the presentation of new teaching methods is essential to achieve the sustainable development of local communities. Nature is of particular importance to the local indigenous group – Pemón and is currently threatened by the expansion of destructive actions such as mining, in many cases illegal, of gold, diamonds and coltan. Promoting and strengthening the knowledge of environment and ecology, which is decreasing with the change of lifestyle of the Pemón, is strategic for the conservation of the resources, on which this ethnic group depends.

During the realisation of previous project cofounded by Idea Wild “Wildfire, habitat fragmentation and hunting: their impact on abundance and richness of mammals in la Gran Sabana, Venezuela”, I realized that only the education and support of the local population can help protect the nature and local resources. Even the most sophisticated but purely scientific project would not help save an endangered species without knowledge of the nature, willingness to cooperate and interest of the local community. Undoubtedly, the best mediators are children and teenagers! Thanks to their natural world’ curiosity and energy are able to „contaminate” with the knowledge adults and the entire community of Pemón.

The participation of children and adolescents in the project „Where is temenen going? Environmental education”(“Por donde anda temenen? Educacion ambiental” in Spanish and “Öitündö temenen echi? in Pemón dialect) will increase respect for the right to quality education in the community, students in primary and secondary school will be offered support in training of new educational techniques. Teachers will be provided with new methods of teaching environment, which will encourage students to work independently and to activate their cognitive abilities.

During multiple visit when I was carrying on previous project „Wildfire, habitat fragmentation and hunting: their impact on abundance and richness of mammals in la Gran Sabana, Venezuela “I had the opportunity to talk to the captains of communities who expressed their concerns about spreading of the nature knowledge to children and teenagers attending schools, that has been gradually disappearing because of migration of youth to cities or other jobs such as mining. Captains consider that the protection of the environment and nature conservation are important and understand that these actions can help them maintain tourism activities that generate significant income in your area. Fire management in la Gran Sabana represents a challenge for intercultural land management, and probably the hunting present a similar challenge. Therefore working together with the indigenous community will enhance our understanding, from different perspectives, of conservation problems that are present in this unique place, and allow informing on management practices appropriate to comply with conservation, social and economic objectives (tourism, maintenance of socio-productive systems, etc). Thanks to photos and videos from cameras traps making visible this what is hard to notice by night or deep in the forest.

Principal objective

The realization of activities for children and teenagers based on scientific knowledge and using experimental methods such as outdoor education with cameras trap will allow to „see” what the human eye does not detect. Additionally, workshop will improve the content of classes that teachers and environmental educators will present in the future, through a brochure containing images of animals and their footprints, so that they can easily identify them in the field.

The camera trap is a type of equipment that is activated when the animal passes in front of these, taking photographs or videos of the animals. The mentioned cameras are fixed with a tape to tree trunk without generating any impact to the environment and in general are not even detected by the animals.

The educational workshops will be held with the children, youth and other members of the community concerned, with the purpose of dissemination and exchanging knowledge about the mammals around them, their ecology and behaviour. The idea is to enrich scientific knowledge with ancestral knowledge Pemón, very valuable and unique. The names of the animals will be presented in Arekuna, as in the title temenen means jaguar (Panthera onca), and Pemón legends about animals will be consulted. This type of exchange, ancestral and scientific knowledge would help to develop the conservationist awareness in the young people who take a crucial role in the protection of the nature for the great benefit of its inhabitants.

            Methodology

Brochure

Publication of the brochure that includes 20 species of mammals that could be recorded with the traps cameras. The brochure includes short information about the species in Spanish and optionally in Arekuna (the most common dialect in the Gran Sabana). In this format it would help both, the children in the schools, their teachers and tourist to know the non-flying mammals from the region and to conserve them.

 

 

Workshop

Depending on type of school that will be encounter in the village two options of workshops were developed. Both finished with evaluation part. Camera traps will be located close to the village depending on local condition (security, mining, etc.) 5-15 cameras traps and they will be checked next day or after one month. If school is located in remote villages local translator will be needed (Spanish – Pemón).

Option 1.

Educational workshops for elementary students. The workshop would last a day (8h), partly theoretical (inside the school) and practice where students go outside to play and also install camera traps. The content of the workshops:

  • Venezuela’s location in the world and the basic environmental characteristics of Venezuelan Guyana.
  • Meeting mammals of Imataca: Groups of mammals: flying and non-flying with a focus on emblematic species such as jaguar (Panthera onca), tapir (Tapirus terrestris), anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) and giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). Ask the children if they know legends and stories related to these species.
  • Outdoor game: bat and moth (based on Games for Nature, Environmental education through the eyes of young people, 2010).
  • Threats to biodiversity. Basic threats for conservation of species and environment.
  • Game: preparation of paper animals – origami
  • What can we do for species conservation? Scientific research and conservation – use of camera traps and collection of tracks of animals.
  • Visit in the forest to collect tracks of animals and place traps cameras in vicinity of the community.

Option 2.

Educational workshops for high school students. The workshop would last a day (8h), partly theoretical (inside the school) and practice where students go outside to play and also install camera traps. The content of the workshops:

  • Location of Venezuela in the neotropical zone, basic environmental characteristics of the geographic regions of Venezuela: Central Cordillera, Eastern Cordillera, Coro region, Maracaibo Lake, los Andes, Los Llanos, Delta System, southern Orinoco (Guayana Venezolana).
  • Meeting groups of mammals: Chirpotera, Rodentia and Carnivora, Didelphiomorphia and Xenarta. In detail, the Carvivora groups (for example, jaguar (Panthera onca)) and Xenarta (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) and giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) are presented. Teenagers are asked if they know legends and stories related to those species.
  • Outdoor game: resources and animals (according to NGO „Sources”)
  • Threats to biodiversity. Basic threats found for conservation of species and environment.
  • What can we do for species conservation? Scientific research and conservation – use of traps cameras (history and current use) and collection of tracks of animals.
  • Visit in the forest to collect tracks of animals and place cameras traps.

 

Evaluation part

 

Evaluation of the results (5h) of the traps of the monitoring of fauna.

Mixed surveys (open and close) will be used to evaluate of newly acquired knowledge from workshop of the students from primary and secondary schools. Delivery of electronic materials (photos of animals from traps cameras, game scenarios and presentations) to teachers to allow the repetition of that activity in other years.

 

           

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