Mangrove ecology workshop for Guatemala's teachers

11/05/2006


News from Wetlands for the Future

News Release for Guatemala Mangrove Workshop

Guatemala teachers' workshop on mangrove ecology

Educators from five countries came together in Tilapa from 18 to 21 April 2006 in a three-day workshop for Guatemala teachers on the importance of mangrove wetlands.

Co-sponsored by the international non-profit organization the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), Guatemala's Amigos del Bosque, Colombia's San Andres-based CORALINA, The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and New England Biolabs, the workshop attracted more than 20 teachers from across the country and abroad. The workshop was held in Tilapa, a small island on the southwest Pacific coast of Guatemala.

Led by MAP's education director, Martin Keeley, who delivered the workshop together with co-presenter Fanny Howard from Colombia-based CORALINA, teachers spent most of their time learning how to deliver simple and practical hands-on activities to their students which give students a basic understanding of the science behind mangrove ecology.

The activities were selected from MAP's Marvellous Mangroves of Guatemala, a 300-page teachers curriculum resource guide developed initially by Mr. Keeley for the Cayman Islands and adapted for Guatemala schools in a two-day workshop held last year with teachers from the nearby town of Ocos, Nancy Hurtado and Patricio Jose Perez, Amigos' director Dra. Ligia M. de León Gamboa, and the regional forestry agency INAB's Martin Sanchez and Don Guillermo Jiménez.

Each of the hands-on activities uses simple items found in every household which cost little - if any - money. This makes it easier for teachers to use the materials when demonstrating to students basic scientific and ecological principles, explains Mr. Keeley. The theory behind the activities is explained in easy-to-teach terms, and the curriculum contains many illustrations that reinforce both theory and hands-on activities.

"The workshop went extremely well," said Mr. Keeley. " The teachers showed a strong interest in learning the curriculum, and all are taking it back to their communities to teach their students as well as other teachers."

To teach other teachers in further workshops was the main concensus of the delegates in their evaulations.

One teacher from Santo Domingo stated: "The workshop was very creative, we had the chance to interact, we were not bored, and the themes were very important. In my community where we are protecting 220 hectares of mangrove forest, there is an association. This association has among its goals to manage the mangroves in a sustainable way and we have seen the good results.

"I hope we get some type of follow-up to these workshops and we get invitation to participate. I will develop a plan to multiply what I have learned through workshops with teachers in areas near to mangrove. I will be asking the municipality of Santo Domingo to help with refreshments and materials and in the future I will let you know the results and evidence of actions for mangrove conservation."

Another teacher stated: "I found this workshop very interesting and practical, ideal to do with school children so they can be conscious about the reality of the mangroves of our country."

A teacher from Ocos, San Marcos commented: "Excellent, thanks for coming, we are grateful for your interest in our mangroves and that you came to teach about the importance of our mangroves and that you help reinforce what Tilapa needs."

Said another: "The training in general was very good, the material was excellent, but it would be pertinent to do a follow-up activity."

Because of the keen interest of the teachers in follow-up, two more workshops have been planned by MAP and Amigos del Bosque for the month of June. Utilizing the skills learned by the teachers who took the workshop in Tilapa, Amigos director Dra. Ligia M. de Leon Gamboa says she has a further workshop for 30 teachers and 30 students planned for the San Marcos region to coincide with Amigos' annual turtle education program. The second workshop for 30 teachers will be held in Chiquimulilla, Santa Rosa province, also in June.

MAP and Amigos are also hoping to give a workshop on the Caribbean coast in the fall, but this will depend on funding, says Mr. Keeley.

In addition to the workshop itself, MAP was able to videotape the entire three days, including a field trip to nearby mangrove sites, and is planning make it available on DVD to attendees of the workshop as well as other teachers. The tape was filmed by Mr. Renato De Almeira, a teacher with Oceanográfico de Sao Paulo, Brazil, who was observing the workshop with the intention of adapting the curriculum for use in his country.

Also attending were Ms. Rosa Montanez Gallego, Executive Director of the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (CREHO) in Panama, and Professor Cristian Tovilla from Escuela de la Frontera Sur de México - Tapachula, both of whom are hoping to work with MAP in the future to introduce the curriculum into Panama and Mexico.

Teachers attending MAP's mangrove curriculum workshop put theory into practice when they visit mangroves in the Manchon-Guamuchal Ramsar site in southwest Guatemala.

Guatemalan teachers participate in one of the water activities in the Mangrove Action Project's (MAP's) 3-day teachers workshop in Tilapa, Guatemala. On right are MAP's Education Director Martin Keeley, who led the workshop, and co-presenter and translator Fanny Howard from CORALINA in Colombia's San Andres Archipelago.

Guatemalan teachers participate in one of the water activities in the Mangrove Action Project's (MAP's) 3-day teachers' workshop in Tilapa, Guatemala. In this activity they have to clean up a simulated oil spill that has washed up in the mangroves.

Tasting the salt found on the back of a black mangrove leaf is a way to easily identify this mangrove species. This teacher attending MAP's mangrove curriculum workshop puts theory into practice when he and his colleagues visit mangroves in the Manchon-Guamuchal Ramsar site in southwest Guatemala.

This teacher is using a dip net she made herself to explore mangrove ecology at a workshop held recently in Tilapa, southwest Guatemala. The teacher is attending MAP's mangrove curriculum workshop and puts theory into practice during a field trip when she and her colleagues visit mangroves in the Manchon-Guamuchal Ramsar site.

MAP's Education Director Martin Keeley (left) outlines one of the activities from his 300-page mangrove curriculum to Guatemalan teachers attending a recent workshop held in Tilapa.


Comunicado de prensa

Educadores de cinco países se dieron cita en la Isla de Tilapa ubicada en la costa sur oeste de Guatemala, del 18 al 21 de Abril para la realización de un taller sobre la importancia de los humedales. Este fue financiado por la ONG internacional Mangrove Action Project (MAP) junto con organizaciones como Amigos del Bosque filial Coatepeque, CORALINA la agencia gubernamental de desarrollo sostenible colombiana en la Isla de San Andrés, RAMSAR y New England Biolabs.

Durante estos tres días más de 20 maestros de toda Guatemala y otros países dirigidos por el señor Martin Keeley, Director de Educación del MAP, junto con Fanny Howard de CORALINA, los maestros aprendieron cómo realizar actividades simples y prácticas con sus alumnos y al mismo tiempo brindarles los conceptos científicos básicos detrás de la ecología de los manglares.

Las actividades fueron seleccionadas de la guía para docentes de 300 páginas del MAP "Los Maravillosos Manglares de Guatemala", currículo elaborado por el Señor Martin Keeley para las Islas Caimán y adaptado para las escuelas de Guatemala en un taller de dos días, que se llevó a cabo en el año anterior con los docentes de Ocos Nancy Hurtado y Patricio José Perez, con la directora de Amigos del Bosque Dra. Ligia M. de León Gamboa, y Martín Sánchez y Don Guillermo Jiménez, personal del INAB.

Para cada una de las actividades fueron utilizados elementos de uso diario en los hogares y que son de bajo costo. Esto facilita a los maestros la posibilidad de utilizar estos mismos materiales para demostrar a sus alumnos principios científicos y ecológicos básicos explicó el señor Keeley. La teoría detrás de las actividades se explica en términos fáciles de enseñar y el currículo contiene muchas ilustraciones para reforzar tanto la teoría como los experimentos.

"El taller fue un éxito", dijo el señor Keeley. "Los maestros mostraron un gran interés en el currículo y todos se llevaron un ejemplar a sus comunidades para utilizarlo tanto en la enseñanza de alumnos como para compartirlo con colegas.

La necesidad de darlo a conocer a otros maestros en futuros talleres fue el consenso general a que llegaron los delegados en sus evaluaciones.

Un maestro de Santo Domingo dijo: " El taller fue muy creativo, tuvimos la oportunidad de interactuar, por eso no nos sentimos aburridos, además que los temas son muy importantes. En mi comunidad se está protegiendo 220 hectáreas de bosque de manglar, se ha formado una asociación con el fin de darle manejo sostenible y nos hemos dado cuenta que ha dado resultados. Espero que se le de seguimiento a este tipo de talleres y nos vuelvan a invitar. Pienso hacer una planificación para poder multiplicar estos conocimientos adquiridos y hacer un pequeño taller con maestros/ maestras de escuelas circunvecinas al manglar. Pienso solicitar a la municipalidad de Santo Domingo ayuda para refrigerio y material y les comunicaré los resultados y evidencias de logro".

Otro docente indicó " Este taller lo encontré bastante interesante y muy práctico, ideal para realizarlo con niños de edad escolar con la finalidad de tomar conciencia de la realidad de los manglares en nuestro país".

Un maestro de Ocos señaló: "Excelente, gracias por venir, estamos agradecidos por el interés sobre nuestros manglares, a ayudar que las personas se interesen por enseñar la importancia que tienen los manglares y así mismo reforzar lo que nosotros hemos estado tratando de impulsar a los vecinos de Tilapa" . Otro docente expresó lo siguiente: "La capacitación en general fue muy buena, el material excelente sin embargo valdría la pena realizar alguna actividad de seguimiento".

Debido a múltiples muestras de interés departe de los maestros en el seguimiento, MAP y Amigos del Bosque han planeado dos talleres para el mes de junio. Utilizando las habilidades aprendidas por los docentes que participaron en el taller, la Directora de Amigos del Bosque, Dra. Ligia M. de León Gamboa tiene planeado un taller para 30 alumnos y 30 docentes para la región de San Marcos coincidiendo con la capacitación anual sobre tortugas marinas de su organización. El segundo taller será llevado a cabo también en junio en Chiquimulilla, provincia de Santa Rosa para otros 30 docentes.

MAP y Amigos del Bosque esperan realizar un taller en la región Caribe de Guatemala en el otoño de este mismo año dependiendo de la consecución de los fondos necesarios.

Otro producto importante de este taller fue que MAP logró filmar todo el taller, incluyendo la salida de campo y está planeando entregarlo en formato DVD a los participantes del taller. La filmación estuvo a cargo del biólogo Renato de Almeira, profesor del Oceanográfico de Sao Paulo, Brasil, quien estuvo observando el taller con la intención de adaptar este currículo para usarlo en su país.

Estuvieron presentes además la abogada Rosa Montañez Gallego, Directora Ejecutiva del Centro Regional de Entrenamiento para el Hemisferio Occidental (CREHO) RAMSAR en Panamá y el Profesor Cristian Tovilla de la Escuela de la Frontera Sur de Méjico - Tapachula, Méjico; quien espera en el futuro trabajar con MAP para introducir este currículo a su país.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support the Wetlands for the Future Fund (WFF) training initiative for the Western Hemisphere, first begun in 1997. This activity promotes the implementation of the concept of "wise use" of wetlands through the strengthening of the capacity of countries to manage their wetland resources in perpetuity and by contributing to the integration of wetland conservation and management with the development process. All proposed activities must be in line with the principles, recommendations and guidelines of the Ramsar Convention. For more information about the WFF, see http://ramsar.org/wff/caxref:4158.

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