NJP collaborated with Naturalia to develop a Spanish-language wildlife school curriculum that is both relevant and engaging for the younger generation – with topics including keystone predators in the region, a focus on Neotropical migratory birds, climate change, and the importance of protecting biodiversity. School workshops are designed to promote respect for wildlife along with observational abilities and critical thinking.
Reaching students and teachers from pre-kindergarten to ninth grade, Naturalia has held workshops in the municipalities of Sahuaripa, Arivechi, and Bacanora. Last school year, 450 children and more than 20 teachers participated in this program – which has grown into the main source for environmental education in the region. University students from Hermosillo have volunteered to lead and present many of the most recent workshops.
Workshops include comprehensive resources and materials, along with promotion of Naturalia’s environmental education website, Aula Verde. Interactive games bring out the students’ curiosity: Naturalia’s Serpents and Ladders, wildlife lotería, and live camera trap demonstrations. To give life to the different species, a set of plush wildlife puppets donated by Florida’s Brevard Zoo are used.
With NJP’s support, complimentary subscriptions to Naturalia’s magazine Especies have been distributed to regional schools, the Sahuaripa public library, teachers’ center, and town hall. We’ve also printed and handed out more than 1,000 copies of our “Sonoran Sierra Biodiversity” poster. The poster includes the scientific and common names of species in the region and serves as a useful visual aid for teachers and students to easily identify their local biodiversity.
Students in the U.S. who have participated in our presentations on jaguar conservation in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands have also shown great interest. Some of these young conservationists have even taken initiative in “adopting” acres of the reserve through our Save-a-Spot for Jaguars program.