Education: Adopt-A-School in Peru

Most days don’t start with a walk through a construction site and a “mototaxi” ride to get into the office, but today it did. It also included watching an iguana outside of the office window as it rested against the tree branch soaking in the Amazonian heat.

Currently, I am in Iquitos, Peru, preparing for evaluations in 53 rural communities along the Amazon and Napo Rivers. This is part of our Adopt-A-School program that the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) supports in conjunction with an organization called Conservacion de la Naturaleza Amazonica del Peru, A.C. (CONAPAC), based out of Iquitos.

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We work together to bring conservation awareness to these communities as well as provide opportunities for education. Each spring, the DZS leads groups of volunteers down to Peru to deliver school supplies to these communities. In the fall, as the schools wrap up their school year, we send DZS staff to attend these evaluations to check in with communities on how well they are using their supplies, how well the students are learning and how well they are maintaining the environment around their communities. That’s what DZS Education Specialist Adam Dewey and I are here to accomplish.

Although I’ve attended the school deliveries in the past, this is my first opportunity to be here for the evaluation component. I’m looking forward to seeing what the communities look like without the festivities that the school supply deliveries bring. We will see students in school, see how they learn and all that they’ve been able to accomplish this past year. We will talk with leaders within the program to see how well they’ve maintained and supported the service projects that have been completed within their communities. We will also see the new water filtration systems in use in each of the schools. Clean drinking water has been an additional project for CONAPAC, and one that has helped to keep children in these communities healthy, so I am especially looking forward to seeing this in action.

Soon, we will be heading down the river to rustic lodges in beautifully remote areas, where hot water isn’t an option, and electricity is only found in the dining hall. I am looking forward to being immersed in the rainforest for the next two weeks, spending time in these communities and visiting with the amazing people that live here. Check back soon to hear more about the program and our upcoming adventures in the communities!

– Carla Van Kampen is a curator of education for the Detroit Zoological Society.

Education: Adopt-a-School in Peru

Claire Lannoye-Hall is a Curator of Education for the Detroit Zoological Society.

The ecological health of the world’s tropical Peru - Clairerainforests are vital to the balance of the global environment. Rainforests have been called the lungs of the earth, cleaning the air we breathe. The area is rich in biodiversity and culture, and supporting the people who know the rainforest best from living there for generations places them in an unparalleled position to protect the natural resources that they depend on for their way of life.  By empowering these communities to live sustainably amongst these resources, they become protectors of this essential region.

One of the keys to creating change in the world is access to education and current information. The Detroit Zoological Society has long been a partner in the Amazon Rainforest Adopt-A-School Program to provide school supplies and support to people living in the rural areas of Peru to strengthen education. With this education comes empowerment and responsibility to live sustainably in this vital region.

Peru - Claire 3I and another member of our education department have returned to Peru this spring to deliver school supplies to more than 3,000 children and teachers. Each child will receive several notebooks, pens, pencils, a folder, ruler and pencil sharpener. Each school receives a single set of books and basic school supplies like glue, construction paper and markers, and physical education materials like soccer balls and volleyballs.

The school supplies are purchased in Peru - Claire 2Peru with money donated by individuals and organizations from around the world. A group of about 20 people travel with us to deliver all the supplies in a single week. These generous individuals pay their travel costs and make a donation to the program that helps support operational costs.

The program was started almost 25 years ago by Amazon Explorama Lodges and CONAPAC, a Peruvian NGO. The DZS has been an integral partner since 1999.

To follow our daily diary of our trips to Peru, visit: adoptaschool.edublogs.org

– Claire Lannoye Hall