After a test run with a small subset of activites during Nanegal's annual fair in May, we finally properly inaugurated the Santa Lucía Park School yesterday in the context of the Chocó Festival here in Nanegal!
It was ... a ... blast. :)
We offered quite a few activities, such as working with a microscope, looking for critters in an improvised terrarium, a small reading corner, quizzes on mammals and birds, talks on the camera trapping project and quite a few more.
We started around 9.30am in the morning and before we actually completely set up the first kids already came in in order to satisfy their curiosity.
Denisse Merino, Graciela Santos and Holger Beck were present for Santa Lucía and since we shared the festival tent with the Bellavista reserve, Richard Parsons its owner, also helped out in entertaining and inspiring the visitors. People of all ages were interested in exploring our nature (or at least the part of it we could present there). Some of the kids came back all the time we were there, always bringing in new friends or coming up with new questions or ideas.
Surprisingly - although we had a screen showing videos and camera trapping footage - this wasn't necessary the most interesting thing for the children. Although they appreciated it they also made drawings of plants and animals they found in the books or saw under the microscope, i.e., the started entertaining themselves with what they experienced and / or learnt. And that is exactly what we are trying to achieve.
This, of course, gave us a big boost.
The next opportunity to present ourselves is already next Friday where we expect to have more visitors because the location (Nanegal's central) park is a little more favorable.
We need to internally discuss a little, what's the best way to organize ourselves, because even with three facilitators present, a bunch of kids get pretty challenging.
Our approach is to inspire them with lots of different aspects of nature, sustainable living and science, but of course we don't want things to get out of control. ;)
We'll keep you updated!