Becki Cohn-Vargas, Co-Owner, Makengue Reserve

22 March 2016

In 2016, following the successful collaboration with teachers and students during the previous year, all AU research groups focused on environmental education and extending the field guide.

Little Milu, the spider monkey now two years old was the center of attention, having grown so much since the AU students had met her in 2015. Makengue staff created some monkey proof areas, particularly the dining room that kept Milu out of trouble. Milu was roaming free, climbing trees and exploring her world in anticipation of going back to the wild.

Milu the magical monkey!

Two main environmental education events were at the heart of the 2016 group’s efforts, a student lesson at the library and a second teacher training day. We launched a new relationship with the El Castillo library, that was found at the top of the 17th century fortress. Before coming, the students developed environmental education materials. Nicaraguan librarian, Arcelia requested educational flash cards with local animal and plant flashcards. The students brought the flash cards, along with educational films, and lesson plans to provided to the library. A third grade class came to the library for environmental education lessons and the flashcards were used to teach about local animals, especially, the tapir. Soccer games with local youth took place in both El Castillo and Sabalos.

The second environmental education teacher’s day included 16 teachers from four local towns. The teachers requested a longer hike, so they had a nice long hike together with a scavenger hunt. The teachers were so excited to fill out the scavenger hunt sheets, calling out ‘Bingo” when an animal, plant, or bird on the list was spotted. Then everyone came to see it and it became a collaborative game. The teachers also loved playing “Kunja”. Students also interviewed the teachers to gather ethno-botanical data and stories about healing herbs.

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