Environmental Education Programme For Primary School Teachers A Great Success
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Environmental Education Programme For Primary School Teachers A Great Success

Teachers entering the Main Ridge Rain Forest Reserve

Environment TOBAGO is pleased to announce that it’s Environmental Education Teacher Training Programme has been an overwhelming success.

In 2001 Environment TOBAGO succeeded in winning the BPTT “Youth in Education” Leader Award for an innovative education programme that seeks to improve student learning and achievement in the academic field. The award provides funding for non-governmental organizations that offer educational support outside the mainstream system.

The goal of our programme is to develop a methodology and teaching guide for infusing Environmental Education across the Primary school curricular that can then be published and issued to schools. We strongly believe it is vital that children acquire a good knowledge and understanding of their surroundings and the natural resources of their bountiful island from an early age. Only then will they gain respect for the environment and a desire to take care of it. This is the key to a sustainable future for Tobago.

Thirty teachers took part in the workshops, representing 14 different schools, Some traveled from as far as Roxborough and Castara to make it to the after school sessions, which took place in St Josephs Convent in Scarborough.

The teachers learnt innovative, hands on teaching methods and enjoyed informative lectures by guest speakers. We would like to thank Dr Owen Day from Buccoo Reef Trust who spoke about Tobago’s threatened coral reefs, Angela Ramsey and Kamlyn Melville from the Department of the Environment, THA, who talked about the importance of Tobago’s rainforest and Gillian John, also from the Department of the Environment, THA who made us realize the importance of preserving Tobago’s few remaining wetland areas.

The highlight of the programme was a field trip, where teachers could experience first hand the many outstanding areas of the natural beauty that Tobago has to offer. Naturalists, David Rooks and Graham Wellfare guided the teachers through the Main Ridge Forest Reserve and Buccoo Marsh, while Johnson’s Reef Tours took them out onto Buccoo Reef. Many teachers had never actually been to the rainforest before and were amazed to find out that the Act that ensured the preservation of the Main Ridge Forest Reserve in 1776 is said to be the first Environmental Protection Act in the world.

The response from teachers to the programme has been extremely positive. “A treasure of information unfolded,” “I anxiously await next term’s session,” and “A very worthwhile and motivating effort,” are just a few of the comments teachers made when evaluating the training workshops so far.

The programme will continue after Christmas, with the knowledge that the teachers have acquired through this project, will be transferred to the students. Environment Tobago’s travelling eco-classroom will be on hand to visit schools and conduct demonstration lessons in order to support the teacher’s in their classrooms. With the help of feedback from the teachers, we hope to be able to publish an Environmental Education teaching guide, which will be available to all Tobago’s schools at the beginning of the next academic year in September 2003.

Following the success of the programme, Environment TOBAGO hopes that we will be able to seek funding in order to run it again next year. We feel that it is very important that more of Tobago’s teachers are exposed to the programme and we would ideally like to hold the workshops on the Windward end of the island, to make it more accessible to teachers who live in that area.

Thank you to all the teachers who took the time and effort to attend the workshops and make the programme a success. We look forward to continuing working with you in the New Year. With your help we can ensure that Tobago remains “the Jewel of the Caribbean” for many generations to come.

Caption for photograph
Teachers entering the Main Ridge Rain Forest Reserve

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