Visit to Frijolito School
— 1 November 2003
— in Neotropical Environmental Education Program
Some of the most gratifying moments that I have experienced since I began working with The Peregrine Fund’s Environmental Education Program in Panama have been when I have witnessed the looks on children’s faces that are filled with curiosity and enthusiasm. A short while ago, the children of the Frijolito School helped me to remember this. We returned to this school after not having worked there for about half a year. It was a surprise for them since the school is located very far and the notices we sent out announcing our visit arrived late. However, we were still very well received, as always.
There are only seven students total in the school, from grades 1 through 6! Even though we arrived while the students were taking a test, the teacher shared her time with us so that we were able to give a talk and share our conservation message with the students.
Incredibly, the students remembered everything we had taught them the previous year about the biology of the Harpy Eagle. They didn’t miss one question we asked! After this small review about Harpy Eagles, we talked about birds of prey, their main characteristics, and their ecological importance. Afterwards, we went outside to play a short game that helped them remember the basic concepts that they had just learned. We use this game to evaluate student knowledge and retention. Apart from having a lot of energy and enthusiasm, they really learned and remembered a lot. Of course, this is one of the benefits of having a small audience.
Finally, we returned to the classroom where we passed out children’s brochures to the students and we gave the teacher Harpy Eagle posters to hang in the school. We returned from this trip very satisfied and with the promise to return with a movie, more information, and other fun activities that will help empower these children and teach them how to conserve wild places for their future.
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