Teachers Embrace Environmental EducationOctober 5, 2011
In honor of World Teachers’ Day, Maria Ghiso — the Rainforest Alliance’s education program outreach coordinator — blogs about her recent trip to meet with a group of eco-conscious teachers in Colombia…
Teachers are a special group of people. I have met teachers from all over the world and no matter where I find myself, I am always awed by their passion and commitment. Not only do they work to shape the minds of future generations, they also play a leadership role within their communities.
Earlier this month, Julianne Schrader – manager of our education program – and I had the pleasure of working with a truly wonderful group of teachers in Colombia. Together with Project Learning Tree, we were there to help support the work of our colleagues and friends at Fundación Natura, a locally based nonprofit and a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network. During the week, we led two workshops — one in San José de la Montaña (part of the Department of Boyacá) and one in Encino (part of the Department of Santander), a community outside of the beautiful Cachalú Biological Reserve. [Editor’s note: Maria will be sharing a blog about her trip to Cachalú later this week.]
In Encino, we were joined by 30 teachers from nearby schools. We spent the day sharing experiences and resources for teaching environmental education. We discussed activities for working with young students, looked for shapes in the environment, and incorporated music and movement as we danced with leaves. We learned about the parts of a tree and how they function to help the tree live and grow. We looked at the distribution of the forests of the world in comparison to the population of the world, and we talked about climate change and discussed the role forests play in the global climate.
We also addressed the fundamentals of environmental education – beginning with awareness, sharing knowledge and skills, and inspiring action. Teachers worked in groups and created a map of changes they would like to see in their schools. Many dreamed of greening their classrooms and schools, and adding more plants and trees in and around their school sites.
As a group, we planted trees to be left and cared for at the school. It was a symbolic gesture that represented the group’s commitment to the environment. The teachers were very motivated by the activities and the resources we shared during the workshop. We encouraged them to work to make some elements of their plans for greening their school a reality.
Inspired by the Rainforest Alliance’s work to spread environmental education around the world? Share our Learning Site resources with teachers in your community, and introduce the children in your life to our Kids’ Corner. Want to do more? Support our work by making a donation today.