Friday, February 19, 2016

Mangrove Clubs promote Mangrove Conservation

Mangrove Club leaders of Comrade Ratan Sen Collegiate Girls School with MAP's Education Director Martin A. Keeley, CLEAN's Chief Executive Hasan Mehedi and Education Coordinator Rezaul Karim Zitu
Mangrove Club
There is a long list of contributing factors that are degrading the mangroves of the Sundarbans on a daily basis: lack of public awareness about the importance of mangroves, illegal poaching and logging, industrial pollution, urbanization, unplanned mega projects like adjacent thermal power plants, dockyard and silos, unwise resource collection by the traders, frequent natural disasters, irresponsible tourism, commercial shrimp farming, excessive use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, lack of accountability and responsibility of authorities and absence of participatory forest management.

Education on the ecology and importance of the Sundarbans mangroves is vital for conservation and sustainable use of the mangrove forest. But the schools’ national curriculum does not place enough importance on mangrove ecology. So, the previous and current generations have grown up with very little knowledge and sensitivity of the mangrove forest and its biodiversity. There are also severe problems involving the typical learning process, which follows a strict text-based lecture method without any practical or hands-on scientific activities.

Distributing Magnifying lenses to a Mangrove Club
Students can play a vital role to change the direction from destruction to the dream of ecological bounty and health. Recognising the potential role of children and adolescents as social advocates, CLEAN initiated the formation of Mangrove Clubs in 7 secondary schools in the Sundarbans adjacent areas. The clubs motivate the students to study science; to protect the Sundarbans mangrove forest; to build awareness within and beyond their communities and ultimately to implement the Marvellous Mangroves Curriculum to build an environmentally-friendly and conscious future generation.
Mangrove Club is a way to lead active children and adolescent students towards conservation education. Mangrove Club’s mission is to create a new generation that is environmentally-sensitive, knowledge-based and conscious citizens. It is a structure which allows students to play the role of a scientist, a teacher and a conservation activist. Mangrove Club is an organized team of students and their teachers which runs independently, and creates self-confidence in both young and adolescent students.
Students thrive in hands-on learning experience
Students from ages 11-16 (Class-VI to X) are at the centre of Mangrove Clubs. Any of them can join in the club by filling-out a prescribed application with membership dues of only Taka 10.00 (USD 0.12), and by taking an oath to conserve their local environment - especially mangroves. The members elect 9-11 Club Team members with one senior student playing the role of Captain together with two Vice Captains. At least one representative from each class must be part of the Team. The Team members help their teachers to facilitate Mangrove Education in classes and on field trips as co-facilitators. They also facilitate hand-on activities in peer groups. Three teachers, including at least one with a science background, facilitate the Mangrove Clubs as Educators. The Headmaster or Principal of the institution takes the honorary position of Patron of the Club.

§  Learning basic science related to the national curriculum in and out of classrooms. This includes:
§  Recognizing and knowing mangrove microorganisms, and related flora and fauna, soil and water;
§  Making presentations on mangroves in their school and to other students;
§  Organizing in the schools  regular discussion, debate, art competition, knowledge games, essay competitions and other programs on mangroves and wetlands.
§  Visiting mangrove forests periodically for observation, hands-on knowledge and research purposes;
§  Meeting media to inform them about education techniques and their research findings on mangrove forest and wetlands;
§  Celebrating national and international days related with wetlands, mangroves and environment to build awareness in their communities;
§  Working in their own communities to educate families, friends and community leaders on the importance of mangroves including their unique characteristics;
§  Taking action on any disastrous situation including serious pollution in mangroves;
§  Building the awareness of tourists about the role and importance of mangrove forests;
§  Establishing databases for water quality, plant and animal species types and number, etc. plus ongoing data collection as part of the monitoring process;
§  Gathering information on threatened and endangered species and take action to protect them;
§  Promoting dissemination and replication of Marvellous Mangrove Curriculum in other schools and organizations 

§  Abul Hossain Girls High School, Khulna

§  Belfulia Islamia Collegiate School, Khulna
§  Channir Chak LC Collegiate School, Khulna

§  Com. Ratan Sen Collegiate Girls School, Khulna
§  Laudob-Badamtala High School, Khulna

§  Surkhali High School, Khulna
TA Faruq Collegiate School, Bagerhat

Spread your hands to the Children to make change!

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