Junior Scientists Chat Live with Portland Students
By Emma Zarriello - Research Associate
As the clock struck 3:00 Monday afternoon, the sounds of children's voices could be heard leaving the forest trails and heading for the computer labs. The Junior Scientists were about to embark on a different journey; a cyber-journey, to be exact. In a real-time meeting with fifth-grade students in Portland, Oregon, the Scientists excitedly shared stories of the forests with children from what seemed like another world. Using Skype technology, the Portland students told the Scientists the wonders of the American Pacific-Northwest forests, forests drastically different from those found in Brazil. Eagerly listening to the students as though they were in the same room, the Scientists then took the stage, telling of their own adventures and experiences amidst the Atlantic Forest. "Most of these students have never seen anything like a Skype conversation," said Robin Le Breton about the Junior Scientists. "It's going to be a real experience to see how they react to this type of environment." But the students' reactions, from Oregon to Minas Gerias, far exceeded any expectation, proving that passion for environmental education is universally possible, unencumbered by barriers of language and nationality. Meeting with the Portland students marked the beginning of a new fundraiser boost. Aiming to raise $5000 for the Junior Scientist project -- in order to bring in 50 new students to the program -- Iracambi is now seeking support to train the next generation of Brazilians to care for a protect the Atlantic Forest. Because gifts given on June 13 qualify for 40% of matching funds, Iracambi is pushing to rope in donations then; but, of course, any and all donations, given at any time, are equally appreciated. Iracambi also launched a text-messaging based giving circle, where US mobile users can text GIVE 7852 to 80088 to donate $10 to the Junior Scientists. Hoping that this technology will help rally support for the program, the Center is crossing its fingers, working hard to find those who will help the children help the forest.
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