This Project aims at encouraging students to develop research skills for protecting the environment through the observation of the local fauna. This will be done through bird watching field trips at non risk sites in which children will identify bird species and take pictures of them. Using the data collected by the students, educational materials will be produced by them such as posters, blogs and visual bird guides with information about the species found in the region. In addition, workshops will be carried out where biologist, community and students will share their knowledge about birds.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Students of the Caracoli school are the leaders of this project, they will be conducting bird watching activities, taking pictures and creating a blog and a bird guide with their findings. This is a small school located in a rural area of Uraba, Colombia, affected by poverty and violence. The students are sixteen children from 11-14 years old that walk to school every day for about two hours. Technology has barely reached their lives yet. They cook with firewood and do farm labors such as milking cows and harvesting. The school only has five computers and they have to take turns to use them. They now know how to use Word and to do searches in the internet. I want to help them to develop their abilities and to motivate them to know what they have, to protect it and to show it to the world.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
ENSEÑA POR COLOMBIA is an NGO that works towards improving education at vulnerable regions affected by poverty. I work for them and last year I was assigned to teach at the Caracoli school. This NGO works in partnership with the organization TEACH FOR ALL, and they will be my allies in implementing this project, as well as the group of teachers working in neighboring schools. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ense%C3%B1a-por-Colombia/198764526829704
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Students will use their findings from the bird watching activities and workshops with biologists and local community to create posters, handouts, blogs and a visual bird guide. In those outputs they will share what they have learned about birds in their region: pictures, species identification, bird habits and characteristics, threats posed by humans and ways to protect them. They will also write in the blog about misconceptions around those birds and their field experiences as young researchers.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
Connections with neighboring schools have already been established; other teachers in the region enrolled with ENSEÑA POR COLOMBIA are willing to collaborate as well. Local churches will be contacted and asked to collaborate in providing convening facilities for the workshops as well as additional resources.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The project will start training the 16 students under my supervision and after they make public their findings we will take the project to other schools of the area, with the former students acting as facilitators, thus replicating their experiences with their peers. Student's participation will be sustained through the implementation of similar projects targeting other species and by replicating former experiences in neighboring schools.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Students will be trained in: digital camera handling, binoculars use, field guides use for bird watching, photo editing and blog composition.
I have a bachelor in Biology and a work experience of 4 years in projects related to fauna characterization and environmental management plans. I am also very familiar with computer-based tools such as power point, Photoshop, and with internet-based tools such as blogs and social networking. Given the low literacy rates in this community, visual communication tools are the most appropriate for this community. In addition, the students have shown a great interest in digital photography, they enjoy taking pictures and showing them to others, this will ensure their interest in the project. The blogs will allow them to reach a larger public.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshops will be hold in the schools and other facilities provided by local churches. They have space availability to host up to 40 people. The Caracoli school have five computers, one projector and internet is possible through USB modems. Internet connection speed is acceptable.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
I work in this community as a school teacher. I am a figure of respect, love and learning for those children who smile and scream of excitement when I arrive to school every day. Schools are quiet and neutral spaces where children can escape from their hardships. Students’ mothers present me every day with treats such as fruits or meals in recognition of my efforts. Therefore school-based projects are seen with confidence and legitimacy by the local community. Previous workshops carried out by me were successful and with high assistance rates, therefore the community and the students are already motivated to continue and enlarge this type of learning experiences.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One important challenge is the security of the place because of the presence of armed groups in the region. Therefore, bird watching activities will be limited to the school surroundings, inroads into farther sites will not be allowed. Observations will be carried out in company of some of the students’ parents and respected members of the community to avoid risks. Bird watching activities will be performed in small groups so each student can be supervised constantly during the activity by an adult. Activities will be rescheduled whenever safety conditions are not warranted.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
The project impacts will be measured by the number of students trained, the number of people attending the workshops, the outputs of the project such as posters, bird guides and blogs. In addition this project also seeks to bring about mindset changes regarding animals and the environment. Success will be reflected in the uptake of the project by the students, the use of the project outputs by the larger community and a more responsible outlook toward the environment adopted by students and local community.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
1) Bird watching and photo field trips:
May 16th, 2014
May 30th, 2014
June 6th, 2014
June 21th, 2014
July 12th, 2014
July 26th, 2015
August 9th, 2014
August 16th, 2014
2) Bird Identification (workshops with students, biologists and community members):
September 1- 30
3) Poster, Bird guide and blog design: October 1- 30
4) Results dissemination: November 1- December 20
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Digital Camera (5): $ 1000
Binoculars (5): $ 500
Internet USB Modems (3): $150
Bird specialist expenses (transportation and meals): $300
Posters and bird guides supplies and printing: $ 300
Workshops costs (advertisement and refreshments): $ 150
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
We will benefit from the dissemination of the results and outputs of the project into other networks and platforms. Additionally, other support could be through the provision of information about other grants or funding sources.