Pro Eco Azuero has developed an education initiative which we want to implement in 8 rural elementary schools closest to our prioritized habitat corridor needed for regional conservation action. This has resulted in a great entry way for local communities and farm owners to conduct large- and small-scale reforestation projects. We use the school as a window to reach a larger, adult audience to conduct interactive community events and recruit local landowners to join our reforestation program.
Once mostly tropical dry forest, Panama's Azuero peninsula is now a degraded agricultural landscape that is less than 7% forested. Climate change imperils local wildlife and hurts the wellbeing of local communities. Globally, less than 2% of dry forest remains, making it the most endangered forest type. In an area where agriculture and cattle raising is imprinted in their everyday life it is imperative to teach sustainable land management and conservation to children in school ages.
Pro Eco Azuero's initiative partners up with 8 local elementary schools to learn about climate change & its local impacts. Reaching these rural schools in our reforestation corridor harnesses the power of youth and teachers to increase community conservation action to address the threats to the vulnerable tropical dry forest environment. We teach locally specific lessons connected to forest and species conservation, sustainable land management and actions to increase climate change resilience.
Long term impacts are that the future landowners and students in these rural schools who inherit the land understand the benefits to habitat and species preservation, and the actions they must take to protect the tropical dry forest system and its inhabitants. The activities in the schools serve as a bridge to reforestation in these communities. To date, we have reforested over 10,000 trees in corridor communities. We have the vision to restore a corridor of 80 kilometers.