|With the CEC set in the miombo forest there is a wide variety of life available for students to study. This relatively harmless whip scorpion was bare-handed by the intrepid Piotr Naskrecki.|
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The restoration of Gorongosa National Park is a community-based effort. Besides wildlife management the scope of the project includes improving local financial opportunities, health and welfare, and education. Some of the local students and teachers have the good fortune to attend the Gorongosa Community Education Center (CEC). We returned to this scenic environmental education camp in the bush to learn more about their activities and how we can connect students and teachers around the world with those in Mozambique.
The coordinators of the CEC include Herculano Ernesto and former Peace Corps worker Adrienne McGill. It was great to reconnect with both of them. Adrienne had visited my class in San Diego this last Fall. We have been working on developing lessons around restoration biology that can connect our different populations of students. The divide between these groups of students is quite large. In Southern California we have urban youth with nearly unlimited technology available for their school work. In Mozambique, the 5th poorest nation in the world, the resources available for students are quite limited. In the Gorongosa region the students are mostly living on small subsistence farms and they spend 1 hour on average walking to school everyday. Additionally, the average class has around 60 students.
The CEC is a model of green design. At the same time it has the appearance of an exclusive summer camp set in the Malibu Hills. It blends with the local habitat in a very natural way. The students or groups of teachers getting training in environmental education typically stay for 2 to 3 days. They work on a variety of projects with local flora and fauna. There are also focused projects on fire control as fires have been frequent and quite destructive during the dry season (June – October).
Soon we will visit with students attending the CEC and coordinating some current and future activities. Anyone have ideas for partnering with students in Mozambique? Please submit a comment! Obrigado. One current project is supporting students in their regional science fair with lessons focused various aspects of the Gorongosa Restoration Project. Science fair goes global!