Regularly sprinkled throughout my posts, you find me talking about environmental education for young people. Take a look here, and here . Along with many others, I share the view that the solution to our environmental crisis is through our youth who are open to new ideas and new world views. They are able to learn about Nature with awe and wonder. With these feelings comes an open mind that is able to build a new consciousness of unity with Nature rather than the predominant adult idea that Nature is to be owned, controlled, and manipulated for the economic benefit of humanity.
With this post, I want to praise a group of high school students at Colegio Americano in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. They are my heroes. This awesome group has created an education and conservation program that is currently being conducted at Colegio Americano for each grade. Some time next year, this program might be offered to all schools in the Guaymas area.
There are two things that are unique about this program. First, those of us who live or visit here are very fortunate to be physically close to Nature’s classroom. Our city is located adjacent to the Sea of Cortez as well as next to an important estuary known as El Estero del Soldado. The experiences of awe and wonder toward Nature are offered to students as my heroes conduct classes within this estuary.
What makes this program really unique is that my group of heroes both manage and teach this program. I am only the mentor. There is a certain magic that takes place when students teach students. Normally frisky 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders listen with great attention when our high school students are doing the teaching and allowing everyone to touch, feel, and listen. Students listen and respond with zeal. It is a real thrill to watch my heroes in action.
David Ruiz Pardo is the student leader of this group. In making an application to the “Kids Are Heroes” program, he describes the group’s work as follows:
“We are a group of Mexican high school students who wish to make a difference. We are concerned about our environment and are aware of the power that we have in our hands to build a new conscientiousness for Nature within our society. We believe that education is an important conservation tool. That’s why we offer an environmental education program for other students in our school and for all young people in our community. With the help of a knowledgeable mentor, we are the teachers. Using a Socratic teaching style, we emphasize the value of every specie in the world and show how they are interconnected. We show that, even if one link is missing, it could be catastrophic. We believe that we are the future change agents of this world as we offer our fresh minds.”
“We are very fortunate to live in one of the relatively few places in the world where we have a living ecological classroom and laboratory very close by. It is an important protected estuary within our community of Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. By conducting part of our program at this estuary, our students can experience the awe and wonder of Nature.”
“Each learning experience consists of a 45 minutes introductory talk in a regular classroom a few days before the field trip to the estuary. In this talk, we emphasize how everything is connected and why the estuary contributes to the ecological resilience of the adjoining Sea of Cortez . During the two hour field trip, our students participate in small discussion groups at specific locations within the sanctuary. The subjects of these discussions include flora, fauna, man’s impact on the estuary, and an exercise in examining some important ecological connections within the estuary.”
Take a look at my gang of heroes in action. They are awesome !!!!!
This month will be my last month working at the school for a while. I have a need to write books and blog posts as well as to do more Nature photography. In my absence, a great mentor will be available. But, I leave with full confidence that my heroes will carry on nicely without me.
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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.