Bird Watching, Citizen Science, School Curriculum
Grenada Fund for Conservation Inc. (GFC), Education Conservation Outreach (ECO) and Kido Foundation collaborated once again to host a second BirdSleuth Workshop, this time in the Sister Isle of Carriacou for the educators there and in Petite Martinique.
The project is supported by Birds Caribbean and a part of a UNDP/SGP/GEF project "Biodiversity Conservation in Carriacou through Nesting Sea Turtles and Wetland Bird Monitoring". The justification for the combination of these two topics was their inherent interrelatedness in nature. The Bird Sanctuary in Carriacou is located in the Petit Carenage wetland area, the adjacent beach and mangroves shoreline of which (a total of approximately 100 acres, part of High North proposed National Park) are an important area where critically endangered sea turtles lay their eggs. The Bird Sanctuary and Turtle Nesting Beaches have been recognized as valuable ecotourism sites, as well as prime conservation habitat for a number of endangered species in the Grenadines of Grenada.
The workshop objectives are to:
Increase awareness of the plight of migratory birds and their habitats
Promote student environmental stewardship through establishing a network of conservation educators and teachers
Highlight the interdependence of mangrove systems, sea turtles and birds
A three day workshop was held at Kido Foundation grounds in Carriacou, between the 19th and 21st of November 2015. In addition to interactive presentations and lively games, it included field trips to Petit Carenage Bird Sanctuary and Dover Big Pond, both well known bird watching hotpots.
Fourteen educators - including teachers from six primary schools, 4H Unit, NADMA and the Ministry of Education personnel - from all over Carriacou and Petite Martinique were trained in the use of the curricula which includes bird identification skills, inquiry-based learning, and citizen science activities (bird monitoring and conservation).
Participants were allowed to demonstrate lessons from the curricular during the workshop using materials and tools provided in the workshop; they also created and presented draft project plans for their various school districts.
These educators will then be expected to train 35 students each within their schools and community groups within the next year, and initiate projects related to bird conservation.