We strongly believe that education is one of the best ways to raising awareness of the values of our natural heritage. As always the challenge is “how to?”. Plain teaching will not work, since most learning is not the result of mere instruction. It all comes to providing the proper conditions in which people can learn to understand why something matters. More often than not this is, especially when working with youth, a matter of arousing enthusiasm rather than emphasizing facts. Facts change. Enthusiasm for exploring the mysteries of the world remains, for the rest of one’s life.
Together with AEMS Rios con Vida CTCF is working on such educational formats in Spain. Earlier this week we started the pilot for our program “Educating kids for a future with rivers” in the primary schools of Truchas and Castrocontrigo, two small villages in the province of León. This program fits in with our aim to encourage children in mountainous areas to love and to care for their rivers and the flora and fauna related, the trout included. Through basic explaining about ecology and biology, and lively video presentations we try to really bring the river to them. On these occasions we did manage to do so. And there was more: it was most rewarding to learn that for these kids the protection of their rivers is not negotiable, no way.
Lessons learnt from this pilot and from previous initiatives will be used to further develop and fine-tune the program during the coming months, and reach as many schools as possible as from next summer/autumn. To enhance its impact we shall to not only bring the river to the children, but also take them there. We plan to turn such field visits into unforgettable experiences, the trout playing a leading part therein. During the classroom sessions, alive young, native trout will feature, as a study object first. Thereafter, at the river, children can release the tagged juveniles, but only after having given them a name which will be linked to its individual tag number. It will not be just “a trout” they release, it will be Maria or Isabella, Paco or Ramón; a friend to care for, to stand up for… Possibly, this friend may be caught (and released) one day, and reported, so we can inform its godfather or godmother about its wellbeing…
We cannot help thinking this approach to be a truly eventful way to get children connected to the environment, and to make them the best of guardians. Those who think so too are invited to support this project financially. Please contact René Beaumont for further details.