This project will ensure rural Costa Rican children can safely return to their varied "outdoor classrooms" and continue their biological and environmental education in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), in northwestern Costa Rica, by supplying Covid-19 protection products and by replacing worn and outdated equipment, such as binoculars used in the field, and microscopes used in the local classroom laboratory.
Since 1986, the Programa de Educacion Biologica (PEB) has been a pioneering field-based biological education program for thousands of children living in rural communities surrounding ACG. To safely welcome students back from virtual learning, PEB needs a variety of new supplies. Before the pandemic, elementary school classes were brought to the park with their teacher six times per year to learn tropical biology from ACG educators; it is their main source of regular science education.
This project will supply PEB teachers with teaching tools and safety equipment to bring students back into their outdoor classroom. Beyond supplying students and teachers with protective gear, the project will replace decades-old materials that are broken and worn, including microscopes, binoculars, and supplies used in the program's central classroom, where classes typically convene after several hours outdoors as part of their supervised age-appropriate learning activities.
The project will provide up to 2,000 children each year with pandemic-safe outdoor learning opportunities that utilize updated and functional equipment. PEB has proven to have far-reaching effects on children's perceptions of the natural world and has been copied in other countries. It is a potent program for building long term acceptance of protected areas and awareness of local biology by surrounding communities, which in turn improves the likelihood that tropical biodiversity will survive.