JUMBO UPDATE 24 MAY 2013
As you all know we believe strongly that education of children is vital to conservation, us “oldies” are pretty set in our ways and in our beliefs whereas the children have open minds and whilst we need to do whatever we can to make sure that we leave the children with habitats and animals to conserve they are the future and hopefully will be the ones to lead our world into a better place where animals are granted the respect and care that they deserve.
A lack of education and understanding of animals and of the importance of the ecosystem often results in cruelty and destruction of the environment not because the people are bad people but because they are ignorant of the effects of their action and it is this issue that we are trying to address.
A lot of people, particularly in under developed countries, do not know that animals can feel pain or fear, they consider them as inanimate property and in areas of extreme poverty they tend to not have the time or energy to focus on anything that does not bring in some form of revenue. If we can get the children to understand the value of looking after animals properly with a financial benefit attached we are far more likely to get their attention for example a well-cared for and happy cow will produce more milk and so how do we care for the cow properly. The economic value of wild animals is even more difficult to establish as the people in the areas around national parks do not see a direct benefit to the animals, they cannot eat them or sell them and so we have to try to educate the children on the indirect benefit of preserving the animals.
We have been working on a children’s workbook for some time now the workbook is aimed at primary school children in areas surrounding national parks and has various sections dealing with various aspects of education combined with conservation for example the maths problems relate to a hypothetical situation where the child’s mother sells tomatoes to a lodge in the national park and the child needs to calculate how many tomatoes she would need to sell in order to pay for his shoes and then a reference is made to the fact that the lodge relies on the animals in the park to attract visitors and if there are no animals the visitors will no longer come, the lodge will close down and his mother will not have a market for her tomatoes thus enforcing the concept that the people in the areas around the park benefit indirectly . A section on the animals themselves talks about the various animal groups and the children are asked to give examples of both wild and domestic animals for example horses, donkey and zebras are all members of the equine family this section then goes on to talk about the circle of life and about how each plant or animal has a specific place in the environment and if the chain is broken there are devastating effects, examples of how this would affect their lives directly are given to emphasise the point for example elimination of bees and insects would result in poor crops due to a lack of pollination.
It has been great fun putting the workbook together and then preparing a teachers copy with all of the answers and suggestions for further activities (Primarily due to Louise’s efforts as she has done the lions share) and she has had a lot of input and critique from a number of Jumbo supporters around the world who are involved with teaching for which we are extremely grateful. We have printed the first copies of the children’s workbook and the teacher’s workbook and are now approaching various potential sponsors to fund our first publication. In order to keep costs down we will be printing and binding the workbooks ourselves as we have a great printer and binding machine and so are looking for sponsorship for paper, ink cartridges and binding materials. Louise is meeting the first potential sponsor this morning for an initial discussion and so I am holding my breath until I get a call from her.
Our first Jumbo kids newsletter and activity sheet was sent out this week and we are looking forward to getting feedback from our “Jumbo Kids”. As I said earlier we really do believe that the children are so vital to the future of our world and we are always heartened when we hear stories of great kids doing their bit for our animals.