Communities in the North Andaman are connected in many ways with the natural environment and are highly dependent upon it for their every day existence. Unfortunately, unsustainable use of natural resources has resulted in gradual and sometimes rapid deterioration from the local to the global level. Polluted water ways, land clearing, intensive agriculture, and over-fishing are a very real threat to the local quality of life.
Many tsunami affected youth recognize the importance that a healthy environment played in mitigating the effects of the killer wave. They also recognize the importance of the environment to the local way of life. Unfortunately, there is no environmental education in local schools, and even less opportunity for youth to be actively engaged in protecting the environment.
Forty high school students from Kuraburi and Suksamran Districts, aged 16 and 17, will be selected by application to join the Youth Environmental Education Program. Project participants will learn more about the environment, human interactions with the environment, and local conservation efforts. Using this knowledge, students will design and implement a conservation project of their own. Outcomes include participants being able to:
- Distinguish plant and wildlife species.
- Describe the usefulness of local ecosystems.
- Describe conservation problems and solutions in their community.
- Formulate and implement a team-based conservation activity or project.
Over the course of one semester, youth will join in activities roughly every second week. Learning will take place in the field and the classroom, and guest teachers will include rangers, conservationists, and educators. Throughout the course, NATR's skilled education staff will make sure that leadership and conservation skills are developed to the fullest. We will also make use of the extensive education resources available, including the Naka Wildlife Reserve, the Ranong Mangrove Research Center, Laem Son National Park, and respected educator Robert Steele.