Environmental education is a process that allows individuals—especially and importantly young people—to explore environmental issues, engage in problem solving, and take action to improve the environment.
As a result, individuals develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and attain the skills to make better-informed and more responsible decisions.
Spreading the love
PAMS Foundation has developed an environmental education syllabus called ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ which we teach at schools surrounding conservation areas. We believe community education and support is key to conserving Africa’s magnificent wildlife and landscapes.
PAMS partners with other groups to develop environmental education books about iconic animal species with a strong conservation message. Like the story about ‘Juma the Giraffe’, ‘Lucky the Wildebeest’, ‘Our elephant neighbors’ and ‘Helping Brother Rhino’. By showing children we care about them and the natural heritage that is critical for their future, we develop friendships, trust and nurture future wildlife protectors.
Making conservation fun
Sports are a great way to talk about conservation and wildlife. PAMS Foundation coordinates “sports days” as well as a football league called “Tembo Cup” (“Elephant Cup” in Kiswahili) as a way to communicate important conservation messages to communities. These fun, yet highly competitive sports days and soccer tournaments reach an average of 400 individuals per match. We take the opportunity to give an educational talk and lead a discussion on various conservation matters before each match.
Planting a seed
Doing things and seeing one’s commitment grow is a very effective way of understanding the value of protecting nature. As part of the ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ education syllabus, each school establishes an indigenous tree nursery which needs to be looked after until the trees are large enough to plant in the surrounding areas. Each member of the school’s wildlife club is also expected to grow his or her own tree from seed, which they will plant in the school grounds and care for during the course of their schooling. These trees are the ‘attendance registers’ for wildlife club members, and should the member fully participate in wildlife club lessons and practicals, a plaque will be erected by their tree as their certificate of achievement upon graduating and leaving the school.
A night out under the African skies
As part of our program, we also take schools kids to spend time camping out in the bush under the African skies, or visit a National Park. They experience and learn about various aspects of ecology first-hand and also get to understand the role of nature-based tourism, which is one of the key income streams for many communities in Tanzania.