This weekend we kicked off the Santa Lucía forest school year 2023. A good friend of ours, Michael de Groot of the Guacamaya Foundation (https://www.stichtingguacamaya.com/) was around and planned to do some classes with local schools.
His focus is a mixture of creativity, reading and writing ability and environmental education and he has been working with various schools in Ecuador (and also Guatemala) for many years.
So we decided to split up the student groups and do some of our stuff with half of them while he he busy with the other half. This worked excellently well.
On Friday we started in Marianitas. In fact that last year's last forest school evento also took place there, so the school kids' memory was still fresh. While Michael made part of the group tell stories, draw things up and also some handicraft, we did some nature exploration around the school using magnifying lenses and binoculares. We found nest of three species of birds under one roof of the school's football pitch.
The kids were very happy with our kind of "entertainment" and education.
On Saturday we did something similar with our own group here in Nanegal, just outside of our office. In fact there were four youngsters that were completely new to our forest school program and about ten that are "regulars".
Since we didn't go to the forest this time we let them explore nature around our office in most parts on their own (with little guidance by ourselves). They were really busy for the longest while trying to find arthropods in the trees, on the the ground and in the soils.
Groups of three to four youngsters focussed on bird observation with Holger and - in spite of the heat of the morning and rather late start (9:30) - found 17 species in the surroundings of the office.
During the two days a total of 30 local kids (aged 5-13) took part in our forest school program. We hope to keep this up throughout the rest of the year.
Currently we collect ideas, so that we can add activities to our program and possibly set up a proper curriculum for the kids.
Ideas are welcome!
And donations for financing our activities too ... ;)