Through funding raised and provided by Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester, environmental education for young children (year 1 + 2) at the poorly funded small school in Guayacan, Costa Rica, has been supported. Guayacan is located in the foothills of the central Caribbean versant of Costa Rica one of the most biologically diverse regions in Central America. It is currently recognized to have the highest known amphibian diversity for a single site in all of Costa Rica, with nearly 70 species.
Unfortunately, Guayacan is also a very economically poor region, and due to the financial limitations of the majority of families living in the area there remains a large human threat to the surrounding biodiversity through exploitation, destruction, and contamination of natural resources.
As one of the best known methods in making progress towards reducing such a threat is through education that focuses on highlighting the importance of protecting natural resources, a major aim of this project is to extend the local children’s knowledge of the biodiversity and natural history of Costa Rica beyond the boundaries of their immediate surroundings, with a view to helping them understand the uniqueness of their own natural links with nature and its importance.
The area in question encompasses the habitat in Costa Rica for the critically endangered Lemur Leaf Frog. Thanks to Brian and Aura Kubicki at the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre, children at the local school have been provided with new environmental-related education sessions in their classroom, including the use of audiovisual presentations. Further, fieldtrips to visit the nearby installations of the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center organised by Brian and Aura provided the opportunity for them to see living specimens of amphibians and other species of local flora and fauna they would not normally encounter. During their visit to the CRARC the children were given age-appropriate explanations about the amphibians and the importance of the biodiversity near their homes. Manchester Museum provided transportation, the necessary educational material, lunch for each child, and each to also receive a T-shirt with an image of the Lemur Leaf Frog, the iconic and Critically Endangered frog that is native to the region of Guayacan.
A large mounted poster highlighting the amphibians of the area was produced for the school (pictured right with Brian’s Son, Kenny). Kenny also features in the film ‘Learning with Lucy’, an environmental education resource also being developed for primary schools in the UK and Sweden. The University of Manchester is proud to have facilitated this initiative in collaboration with the CRARC.