Impact of Environmental Education in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, but increased human activity and development is having a negative effect on countries, the environment and wildlife. View a latest update from the Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) organisation who are working to conserve and protect marine life in the region. You will get an idea why environmental education in the Caribbean in so important and also what you can do to help.
To combat the numerous threats for sea turtles and in order to accomplish with our goals, our conservation work must also include environmental education to be effective. Actions that focus on the young generation and will hopefully bring the importance of environmental and sea turtle care to their consciousness.
Our education program involves primary schools of nearby communities in the province of Limón and teaches about sea turtles, their characteristics, natural and human caused threats and conservation efforts. Sea turtle workshops in class, special education days and school field trips to the project in Pacuare are designed to make it a fun way for kids to learn and get involved with conservation.
Since 2012 World Vision Siquirres supports our educator actively with workshops in schools and site visits to Pacuare beach. We are tirelessly working to establish alliances with local and international stakeholders to be able to extend our scope and range of educational activities. LAST was invited to 3 public events to inform and engage the public with sea turtle conservation work.
Environment Day and environmental festivals at 2 schools served as a good platform to disseminate sea turtle information and raise awareness within the communities about the importance of environmental care for men and animal alike. Through a sea turtle exhibition, games and talks, our activities at the festivals tried to capture mainly the attention of the younger children and wake their interest for sea turtles and their protection.
On Environment Day, 5th of June we set up a sea turtle exhibition with the Pacuare Reserve to inform students and other participants, ecological groups, recycle groups, Ministry of Health, AyA, Reciplas, and the Municipality of Matina about our common efforts to save marine turtles. LAST was also invited by the Visión Mundial Siquirres to Environmental Festival at the Siquirres Justo Facio school in July, together with JACANA, Vision Mundial, Coast Guards, CCSS, ICE, UNED, INA, Ministry of Health, Corredor biológico Jaguar y Cultura Identidad de Talamanca. 250 school children explored our sea turtle exhibition and participated in an interactive talk about sea turtle’s threats and their conservation.
During Easter week, we offered night patrols for children visiting the Pacuare project to observe sea turtles and teach about their nesting behavior. During one night patrol, we followed turtle tracks and observed some poached nests. The next night we saw a leatherback trying to nest, but the high ocean level and waves coming in made it impossible for her to lay eggs. Still, it was an incredible experience for the youngsters to observe a giant turtle for the first time! A truly amazing experience with local families staying at the project and kids patrolling for 2 hours each night, they were absolutely thrilled!
This season, we were able to expand our educational activities and included 3 schools from Siquirres (Justo Facio school, Sector Norte school, Brisas de Reventazon school) in addition to our work with the schools in Bataan (Davao school, Los Almendros school, Venecia school) 148 students from grades 2-6 participated in 2 workshops about sea turtles, characteristics, species, ecological roles, their threats and sea turtle conservation.
The program ended with a school visit to our Pacuare project in September. 80 visitors, children, teachers, parents and supporters, busily cleaned the beach from debris and trash, were educated about the project’s and local community’s work and enjoyed an adventurous day in tropical nature!
By Daniela Moeller, Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for LAST
How You Can Get Involved
If this article has given you some inspiration to help make a difference the following pages will help:
- View more information about Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) and the opportunities they offer
- Search rewarding volunteering programs in the Caribbean where you can help in the region
- Find Caribbean gap year trips - a perfect way to do something structured
- Search internships in the Caribbean which include helping local NGO's
- Apply to teach English in the Caribbean and contribute to educational efforts
- View our guide to working in the Caribbean if you would like to be more than just a tourist