Since last year, the Guardians of Nature foundation has taken environmental education to 20 schools in Hojancha and Nicoya. After the workshops and activities, the schools committed to take care of the environment around them, keeping the school free of trash, recycling and not polluting nearby rivers.
The project is taking place via two workshops; Save the River and Save Trees. “They take a leading role in learning. We try to capture their interest in environmental issues in a participative and interactive way,” said Gabriela Gómez, an environmental instructor with the foundation.
In the workshops, the boys and girls learn that we can transform the planet with small actions.”
When the sessions finish, some of the schools “adopt” trees that were donated by public organizations, such as the Ministry of Environment and Energy, as well as private ones like Coopeguanacaste. Each workshop includes a book donation with illustrated stories for the kids.
The project was possible thanks to a grant from the first U.S.-C.R Debt for Nature Swap. The Voice of Guanacaste and the Guardians of Nature education program won the grant and now the foundation’s plan is to replicate the model in schools throughout the province.
The grant will end in December with a recognition of the schools that were most committed to conservation. According to Jessica Sheffield, executive director of the foundation, they are now seeking funding in other areas to repeat the model in schools throughout the country.
Sheffield said that some cities like Belen and Orotina (in Heredia and Alajuela) have decided to finance the cost of books for schools and they plan to involve other local governments.
An agreement between Guardians of Nature and the Ministry of Public Education signed in August will allow the institutions to work together. “The idea is to train teachers and for them to lead the workshops in their school,” Sheffield said.