More than 40 teachers and students from regional schools came together in Coronie last week to launch the Suriname adaptation of the Mangrove Action Project’s Marvellous Mangroves curriculum-based Teachers’ Resource Guide. They were joined by gamekeepers from Nickerie as well as students from the Herbarium at Antom De Kom University and Eco-Tour Guides based in Paramaribo.
Co-sponsored by the international non-profit organization the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), the Stichting Ontwikkeling Radio en Televisie Suriname (SORTS), the Disney Conservation Fund and the Singing Field Foundation, the Marvellous Mangroves workshop gave teachers a first hand experience of the curriculum guide.
Led by MAP’s education director, Martin Keeley, and CORE’s director Loes Trustfull, participants spent of their time learning how to deliver simple and practical hands-on activities to their students and communities which give students a basic understanding of the science behind mangrove ecology.
The activities were selected from MAP’s Marvellous Mangroves of Suriname, a 350-page teachers curriculum-based resource guide developed initially by Mr. Keeley for the Cayman Islands, which has been adapted and translated for use in thirteen countries worldwide.
“ Each of the hands-on activities uses simple items found in every household which cost little – if any – money. This makes it easier for teachers to use the materials when demonstrating to students basic scientific and ecological principles,” explains Mr. Keeley. “The theory behind the activities is explained in easy-to-teach terms, and the curriculum contains many illustrations that reinforce both theory and hands-on activities.”
Participants put what they had learned ”in class” into practice during a field trip following the two days of theory and activties. At the same time they conducted on-site wáter quality tests and analysed collected samples microscopically back in the training centre.
The teachers agreed that the workshop was extremely useful to learn more about mangroves. All said they would use the materials in their clases, and those from other districts requested workshops be held in different locations.
Some comments from different teachers:
“I learned how to opérate a microscope and saw a whole lot of life that can be found in a little drop of wáter,” said a grade three teacher.
One sixth grade teacher commented: “I found the activities very educational, and learned a lot - especially about the mangrove species in Coronie as well as birds and their feathers”