As warned in an article entitled “What Is Conservation Science?”, children worldwide tend to be less engaged with nature and to have less knowledge about it for several reasons (urbanization, less outdoor plays and more computer games). Reconnecting them to nature is a sustainable strategy to support biodiversity conservation and services to humanity. But how concretely shall we do this?
In the last months, SciEd network met female researchers to discuss and exchange ideas about environmental education projects around the world!
Sara Steele, from the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge, shared with us her enthusiasm and experience of environmental education projects in UK and Indonesia. Together with researchers from Cambridge University involved in the Program on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture, she conducted various activities in British and Indonesian schools including video watching, insects capture, identification and painting, as well as environmental games with 8-9 years-old children. The aim was to allow them to explore different environments such as rainforest and Cambridgeshire surroundings and appreciate animal and plant species in their habitats. Sara provided us concrete advices for successful cross-national environmental education projects. More information about her exiting project can be found here.
Stefanie Steinebach focused her research at Göttingen University in Germany on the meaning of tropical rainforest in the constitution of ethnic identity in Sumatra, Indonesia. She shared with us her thoughts and ideas about environmental education through multi-cultural collaboration. She pointed out that environmental education curriculum should be adjustable to different places and recognize individual knowledge and culture of the multiple social and ethnic groups. It should integrate reflections of multiple and sometimes conflicting values, psychological and ethical reasoning that drives people’s views of nature.
To build on these fruitful discussions and gain further concrete ideas, SciEd will participate in the environmental games session of the forest restoration symposium organized at the university of Zürich in Switzerland early June. We are very much looking forward to that!