Consider the Animals project

Last year, the Primate and Predator Project (PPP) started an environmental awareness and skills development project aimed at primary school students in conjunction with Wilkes Elementary School (Bainbridge Island, USA), Mara Primêre Skool (Buysdorp, South Africa) and CVO Vivo School (Vivo, South Africa). Bradley Lewis (mathematics teacher from Bainbridge High School in the USA) with help from Katy Williams and Philip Faure (both from the PPP) are running the programme in South Africa while Jill Queen (founder of the project), Bill Covert and Tamara Hauge (Wilkes Elementary School) are running the programme in the US. Together, we are busy collaborating with each other to raise awareness about different endangered animals native to our individual backyards.

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Brad explaining the project to the students.

 

This interdisciplinary project is aiming to develop environmental knowledge among the students and teachers of the involved schools, develop skills in writing, art, and mathematics, and share ideas from opposite sides of the planet with each other. Furthermore, this project serves as a networking platform not only between the students but also between researchers, teachers, and various other stakeholders. The project will engage students in considering the endangered animals in their own area in four different ways:

  1. The animal’s story. Students will write short expository pieces about their study animals and express their thoughts and feelings for these animals.
  2. Statistics about the animal. Through the use of basic statistics, students will learn to grasp and solve mathematical problems related to the animal’s survival.
  3. Animal art prints. Students will collaboratively create collagraph prints of their animals. Art work will be displayed in the community to raise awareness for these animal’s stories.
  4. Poetry about the animal. Through figurative writing, students will express their feelings and ideas through poetry.

So far we have explained the programme to two South African schools that are very enthusiastic about it. We have given lectures to the children at Mara Primêre Skool about the various environmental issues relevant to their area. The students really enjoyed it and promised to write letters to the school in the USA, which Brad will take with him when he goes over to the states. In due course, we hope that through this project we can build bridges between the United States and South Africa and collectively raise awareness across borders for animals in need of conservation action. With our efforts, we wish to inspire young souls and cultivate conservation ethic in the hearts of our future generation.

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Phil explaining trophic cascades and environmental issues to the students.

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Grade 6 and 7 students from Buysdorp.

 

If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you would like your school to become a part of the Consider the Animals project then do not hesitate to contact Philip at wildlife.help@durham.ac.uk

 

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