December 17, 2015
Teachers in Trelawny and St. Ann are now part of a regional network of educators using birds to teach youngsters about environmental conservation.
The nine teachers were introduced to the programme, by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), at a recent training workshop hosted in Spring Garden, Trelawny.
The programme, entitled BirdSleuth is an inquiry-based science curriculum that engages children in scientific study and real data collection through exciting citizen science projects.
Dionne Rose, Manager of the Public Education & Corporate Communication Branch at NEPA said the Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with regional based organization BirdsCaribbean to implement the programme in Jamaica.
"This partnership with BirdsCaribbean will facilitate the training of some 20 educators in the implementation of the BirdSleuth Curriculum. Following the training, NEPA will provide ongoing support and encouragement to local educators implementing the programme," she said.
Rose informed that the implementation of the programme has received the endorsement of the Ministry of Education which assisted with selecting and mobilizing teachers to participate in the workshop.
Deleen Powell, Public Relations Officer and Coordinator for NEPA's implementation of the Birdsleuth programme said the aim of the programme is for students to gain an appreciation for birds and by extension the environment in general.
Through the programme, NEPA has provided kits that include guidebooks, bird identification cards, activity books, birdfeeders and binoculars to the schools for use.
Ann-Marie Brown, a teacher at Freeman's Hall Primary and Infant School in Trelawny said she is grateful for the training and materials. "These activities are exciting and will breathe new life into my lessons and club activities. I know the students will love them," Brown said.
Wilson's Run Primary School in Trelawny was the first to begin using the Birdsleuth material. The remaining nine schools - Warsop, Spring Garden, Lowe River, Albert Town, Freeman's Hall, Wait a bit, Bohemia and Cascade have until March next year to implement their activities.
The kits and workshop were financed by the BirdsCaribbean with funding from Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund Act of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.