Supporting lemur conservation by engaging children in biodiversity protection
PLAY (Protecting Life through Active Youth) is a new inclusive education project, working across disciplines to include communities in protecting the shared future for the children and lemurs. PLAY currently functions as an education outreach program under the auspices of the ICTE & Centre ValBio, and aims to increase the number of children who have access to their biodiversity and who can participate in creative opportunities to help define sustainable communities.
They undertake their approach through: 1) material design, 2) children’s networks, and 3) site-based developments. The organization is always looking for new ideas and volunteers; be sure to contact them for more information!
Partnering with local communities
PLAY is about building sustainable relationships with communities and conservation groups around the eastern rainforests of the Ranomafana National Park. Programs are made sustainable through the effective collaboration with regional site partners and looking forward, the organization hopes its programs will flourish over time and will support new and innovative community-based projects. Annual themes, driven by contextual priorities, will be used to support conservation sites and communities with new frameworks for each year; eventually, programs will be managed almost completely by local communities.
Conservation clubs and community gardens
Looking forward, PLAY plans to help increase the capacity for communities to manage their own conservation programs using network clubs and teacher-training programs, seasonal workshops, radio and newsletters. In addition – and with the help of Centre ValBio’s existing development resources in 130 communities – PLAY will be reviving a children’s gardens program, as a central base for conservation clubs. These gardens will also be an inspirational hub for additional creative outreach activities.
To help keep programs innovative and effective, teachers, children, and youth mentors will be brought together regularly, so that their community-based programs can continue to grow through reflection and exchanging ideas with other groups in the region. During these meetings, participants will also have the opportunity to learn about biodiversity in a hands-on way.
This spring, an artistic team in Madagascar is working on the first set of materials that will used to help introduce children to Madagascar’s natural wonders. This initiative was developed as a result of mentorship from Patricia Wright and Alison Jolly and informed by seven years of fieldwork in the area. In 2014, PLAY began to develop their creative curriculum design through site surveys, prototyping material ideas, and putting together a project team.