Educational Guides and Teacher Training Workshops Go Hand in Hand to Further Raptor Conservation in Panama
Marta Curti— 28 February 2006 — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program Share
The Peregrine Fund-Panama’s Neotropical Environmental Education Program (NEEP) is currently focused on working in three main target areas within Panama. The first area consists of 16 communities surrounding Soberania National Park (SNP) where The Peregrine Fund-Panama is soft releasing young Harpy Eagles (see Notes from the Field Harpy Eagle Releases). The second area includes 21 communities in Darien, the region that borders with Colombia, and where a significant population of wild Harpy Eagles remains. Most recently, we have begun to work in 13 communities in the Bocas del Toro region, where we have already released several independent Harpy Eagles and where some wild Harpy Eagles still remain.
In October of last year, NEEP held a very successful trial “mini” teacher training workshop, with 12 regional coordinators from Panama’s Ministry of Education’s Environmental Education Department (see Notes from the Field, October, 2005). This month, we held two full-length workshops, one for teachers in the PNS area and the other for the teachers working in Bocas del Toro. The workshop, entitled “Use and Methodology of the Education Guide Raptors.” is four days long (40 hours) and has been approved by Panama’s Ministry of Education, so that participants each received a half “professional point” for their participation.
The first workshop started on 6 February and was open to teachers working in the SNP area. It began with a special inauguration presented by Adelia O. de Pérez, the National Director of the Environmental Education Department of Panama’s Ministry of Education, and our very own director, Magaly Linares. The inauguration was held at our Neotropical Raptor Center in Clayton, Panama. Here, participants got an inside view of the work we do by seeing the education Harpy Eagle live and up-close and by getting a special view of the monitor room where pairs of captive breeding Harpy Eagles are monitored with the help of closed circuit television.
After our visit to the NRC, we traveled to a guest house on the edge of a small forest in Gamboa where we would be staying for the remainder of the workshop. With assistance from the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, who provided us, free of charge, with the use of the Garden House, a large outdoor room where we conducted most of our activities, we had plenty of work space for the 31 teachers that participated.
Based on the success of the past two workshops, we will conduct at least one more this year, for the teachers in Darien. In the upcoming years, we will continue to host these workshops throughout the country. Our hope is that, through the workshop and guide, local teachers will be inspired and equipped with the necessary knowledge to be directly involved in educating Panama’s youth about the importance of raptor conservation for generations to come.
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