This winter, I will be teaching environmental education classes at schools and community centers in Central America. For Kickstarter, I will be creating a comprehensive photography project that will teach supporters about both the wildlife of the area and the lives of the children. Wherever I travel, I bring art supplies, magnifying glasses, binoculars, and wildlife books. I teach local children about their environments and have them make creative and original art projects to share with their families. I have facilitated projects in: Madagascar, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, Ethiopia, Uganda, Colombia, Florida, and Michigan.
I have contacted several schools and communities in Belize and Mexico that are interested in me teaching my Nature Explorers curriculum. Through a region deep with Mayan history and rich with Caribbean and Latin cultures, I will be staying with local families, working with local children, conducting interviews, taking pictures, writing everything down, and sharing it all with you!
Kickstarter can help me to raise the money needed for the art supplies for the children, travel costs, and the weekly fee that local families charge for a home-stay.
A basic 5 day program is as follows: Day 1: plants and seeds/Day 2: insects and spiders/ Day 3: fish, reptiles and amphibians/Day 4: birds/Day 5: mammals.
Each lesson incorporates outdoor exploration, activities, songs, stories and art projects. Children learn about the individual characteristics that make each classification unique, local wildlife examples, and what they can do to help protect them. I create and tailor the curriculum and bring all needed materials to incorporate art projects into lessons that perpetuate learning and spread awareness into the community.
The first school that I am teaching at is Holy Cross School in San Pedro, Belize in December. Ambergis Caye is the largest island off the coast of Belize and a popular tourist destination. Immigrants from the mainland and other Central American countries come to the one town, San Pedro, for the hope of a better life. Stepping outside the two main streets of town reveals the poverty that this third world population lives in. Holy Cross School works with 425 of the poorest children of San Pedro to give them a fair chance to an education. Holy Cross was founded in 2006 as a reaction to a shortage of classroom space and hundreds of San Pedro children that were not able to attend school. I will be teaching a 5 day environmental program at Holy Cross.
Eco-tourism is the number one industry of Belize in both investment and employment and 40% of their land is protected. Introducing children to a base knowledge of their local environment will help to foster their innate curiosity towards nature and make them more likely to pursue and develop these ideals on their own throughout their life. I will teach at other affiliated schools throughout Belize, and a two week winter break camp at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. In January, I will move on to an indigenous community of Tztotzil Mayan people in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Many of the families in Chiapas have been subjugated to oppression and violence for their land and access to clean water and education are limited. I will teach my Nature Explorers curriculum while documenting my journey.
Throughout my educational endeavors, I will write a weekly blog that updates all of you and chronicles my journey through photography. On my return to the United States, I will create a photo DVD of my experiences. Viewers will be educated on the various ecosystems of that region, the Mayan history, current cultural traditions, and the effects of eco-tourism. This information will come from my observations, research, and interviews. I will talk with adults and children about their thoughts on these issues and their reactions to my program. When I return home, I will give presentations at community centers, schools and nature parks that include an educational slideshow and display of matted prints. I will create an educational DVD of photography that educates viewers on the ecosystems, wildlife, and cultures that I encountered.
In my travels around the world and in my everyday life, I always follow my truest passion: teaching young children about their environment. Now, I am asking for a little bit of help, to do what I love and make a difference in children's lives. Thank you for your time, your consideration, and your support!!
For more information on my past projects, please visit: www.natureexplorersinternational.com
To learn more about Holy Cross School, click here: http://www.holycrossbelize.org/
To find out more about Monkey bay Wildlife Sanctuary, click here: http://www.monkeybaybelize.org/
For more information on the community in Chiapas, Mexico, please visit: http://www.lasabejas.org/
- (30 days)