Sharing ProAves’s Environmental Education Experience in Guanacaste Costa Rica
The Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica is considered one of the best examples of conservation in Latin America. The ProAves team visited it recently and received eight days of intensive training and exchanged lessons learned during their 15 years of doing conservation and educational work.
From November 16 to 23 Juan Carlos Rivas, Deputy Director of the Southwest Region, and Juliana Toro, Deputy Director of Environmental Education, visited the Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica, to attend a Biological Education Training Program.
The training focused on the program that, for the last 27 years, has developed and strengthened awareness of nature in children of school age living close to the conservation area, to promote appropriate attitudes about the use and conservation of natural resources.
The Biological Education Program differs from Environmental Education because it passes from basic natural concepts and campaigns to teaching biology and ecology in the field. They call it the Natural Library, in which children develop sensitivity and better criteria for environmental decision-making in the future. In contact with nature, they assimilate how nature works and is structured, and they learn all the processes that occur within it. It is a new process because it uses the forest as a laboratory classroom, the child learns through live action, he identifies with and understands the dynamics of an ecosystem.
VISIT OF PROAVES TO ACG-COSTA RICA, Flickr.
“A child who has had a biological education will be in the future a citizen who has greater possibilities of acting correctly on the management of the environment, making more rational decisions on environmental issues and have greater capability in relation to the ordinary decisions of life” this is the program’s philosophy, according its Coordinator, Gabriela Gutierrez.
Guanacaste Conservation Area was established in 1994 and has 1,470 km ² of marine, dry, wet and cloud ecosystems. Because of its high biodiversity and special and unique connectivity, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1999. Its size, diversity and location, both on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes, as well as the higher massifs of the Orosi and Cacao volcanoes, make the park a special place in biodiversity.
Within the research programs, entomological characterization is highlighted, cataloging more than 12,000 species of butterflies. Research into genetic improvement with native tree species led them to develop successful conservation programs such as reforestation for the recovery of dry forest that, years ago, was believed to have disappeare. As well as training and forest fire control brigades, all under the concept of bio-development hand in hand with the community, in order to make them a part of the conservation processes.
This is a great experience for Fundación ProAves and its Environmental Education area because, apart from learning the essence of the operation of the park, we learned that these processes are successful and durable. They promote values like perseverance, willingness, respect and a sense of belonging. For us the challenge is to articulate this strategy within our own Environmental Education processes, making them more experiential processes of unforgettable experiences for children, experiences that make the seed sown flourish into responsible adults, conscious of and advocates for our natural heritage.
We want to thank the entire team of the Guanacaste Conservation Area, in particular the Biological Education team, thank you for your attention and willingness to teach us another wonderful strategy to generate future conservationist spirits.
Biological Educators, who trained us:
Pablo Vásquez Badillo
Roberto Vargas Sanabria
Gabriela Gutiérrez – Coordinator
Roger Blanco – Assistant Director of ACG
Maria Martha Chavarria – Biologist and researcher
Ruth Franco – Laboratory Coordinator BioLep
Petrona Rios – Parataxonomist
With the support of