Azuero Spider Monkey School Initiative Expands to Reach 8 Communities in 2017

The spider monkey school initiative seeks to promote curiosity and environmental awareness in Azuero’s new generations through play and artistic expression. These educational games incorporate aspects of their quotidian lives as well as teach how to conserve local flora and fauna. The protagonist of the school initiatives is the spider monkey or “charro monkey” as the children call it. this is a perfect example of how human intervention has reduced the population of spider monkeys and explains the serious consequences of continuing with this degrading process. The games of this year include: “La Red Ecologica”(similar to Human Knot displaying the connectedness of local ecosystems), “Juego del Árbol” (similar to musical chairs conveying the risks of habitat displacement and local species), and “Mono Twister” (similar to Twister but using tree species instead of colors).. In addition to these games, children paint a mural with an ecological theme to illustrate their vision of a sustainable ecosystem.

In 2017, the Spider Monkey School Initiative has expanded to include 2 more schools (Bayano and La Miel) along the ecological corridor that we are striving to create in Los Santos province, reaching a total of 8 communities in the area – Los Asientos, Oria Arriba, Bajo Corral, Colán, Nuario, Vallerriquito, Bayano and La Miel.
These educational activities initiate a constant dialogue with the children for them to voice their opinions and stories. Environmental education isn’t complete with just one session, which is why this year we gave each school a box of environmental games so that children can continue playing them to strengthen their environmental awareness and knowledge.
The environmental film night is the concluding activity of the day which includes the greater community. AEP connects with the community’s adults, informing them about AEP’s activities, and establishes a link with community members to spark collaborative reforestation efforts. This year, AEP presented the documentary “Cuando se Acaben los Bosques” to illustrate the current deforestation of the Azuero region.

The spider monkey school initiative’s greatest impact will come as children internalize environmental awareness leading to behavioral change, share what they have learned with parents, and become landowners themselves.

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