Monkey Forest Tales: Celebrating Environmental Education Day

Yesterday, Jan 26 was Environmental Education Day a day to celebrate all the people who work-s education kids and adults about the importance of biodiversity and our relationship with the environment in which we live. Today’s post is to talk about the importance of environmental education on research projects.

Although not always easy, education activities and programs are an important part of doing fieldwork in many places where we study monkeys. Especially in areas where monkeys and people are living in the same areas. Most of us who study biology didn’t get proper training in education tools and started many education activities without thinking to much or planning to much each of those activities.

With time and after talking with many people and learning from many experienced educators, I learned that each education activity needs an evaluation at the beginning and end of each activity or workshop. Why? Because you need to see with data that your participants (audience) learned and understand the information you gave them. This is also important to show your sponsors that your activities are having an impact in the people that you work with.

An additional lesson we learned over the years was to be creative and adaptable while giving your education activities. Not all the audiences are the same and some are more challenging than others, especially when in the same group you have people from different backgrounds and education levels. So sometimes you need to be flexible and incorporate new methodologies during your activities.

Something that had worked for us in many contexts are the implementation of oral evaluations (oral questions with multiple answers, where participants doesn’t need to write in a piece of paper their answers). This is especially useful with small kids and adults who doesn’t write or who are too shy.

Interactive activities as well as activities of short duration involving different short and clear messages also have worked for us in many contexts and people had a better perception of the whole activity than just one long talk full of slides.

So, today let’s celebrate the great job of so many educators around the world that dedicate their lives to teach other about our important relationship with nature. Thank you for all your efforts!!!

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