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Conservation leaders of tomorrow remember yesterday

Posted by: Dr. Randall Kyes, Global Field Training in Conservation Biology, WPZ Partner for Wildlife

For more than 10 years, Woodland Park Zoo has supported the Global Field Training in Conservation Biology (GFTCB) program, a WPZ Partner for Wildlife. Through GFTCB, Dr. Randall Kyes, from the University of Washington and One Earth Institute, and colleagues in Bangladesh, Nepal, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, and Brazil have been working together to foster the next generation of global conservation leaders, training university students and professionals to be responsible for the survival of the biodiversity in their home countries. Here is the most recent news from the field from Dr. Kyes…

This past summer, we completed our 13th annual Field Course in Conservation Biology at the Tangkoko Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. We had 10 participants including seven university students, one ranger, and two members of a local conservation organization. During the second week of the course, following my lecture on community outreach education, the two young women from the conservation organization said to me, “We remember the outreach program from when we were in elementary school.”

I was stunned. As it turned out, when these two women, Feronika Manderos and Rani Lambainang, were third and fourth graders (in 2001), they participated in our very first educational outreach program at the local elementary school in Batu Putih. They remembered details of the outreach program, in particular the conservation art contest we held. In fact, Feronika received third place in the contest for her drawing of a female, red-knobbed hornbill. They told me how much they wanted to win the first-place prize as kids: a Woodland Park Zoo t-shirt!

Knowing the mark this program left on these young women and how they have continued their commitment to conservation into adulthood reaffirmed for me the importance of the education outreach we do. Even more inspiring, these young women will continue to live and spread these conservation lessons as they pursue their future endeavors, Feronika hoping to become a local tourist guide at Tangkoko and Rani working to obtain her teaching certificate to teach elementary school.

Global Field Training in Conservation Biology is one of 37 conservation programs in 50 countries worldwide supported by Woodland Park Zoo. Through this WPZ Partner for Wildlife, the field training program gives these young leaders the hands-on skills needed to evaluate threats to the environment and plan successful conservation strategies. As part of the field training program, participants also conduct community outreach and education programs for children from local schools, most of whom receive little beyond the most basic educational offerings. Learn more about Woodland Park Zoo’s conservation programs and how you can help.

Photos provided by Global Field Training in Conservation Biology.


Anonymous said…
wow! Early conservation education works for life and here is the proof. Kudos!