Tag: Kids

UPR (University of Puerto Rico) Elementary School, 14 October 2016

This field trip was organized by Professors Lizzette M. Velazquez, and Linda Clark, as part of their “Al rescate del paisaje forestal de la UPR” (Rescuing the forest landscape of UPR), and included future elementary school teachers in training. We went through the forest trails of Las Casas de la Selva to see the origin of the Sonadora River, and whilst getting there, we talked about trees, animals, soil, the importance of forests, and marveled at the biodiversity all around us.

Back at the homestead, we looked at compost piles at different stages of composting, learnt about humanure composting toilets, (and used them), and smelt fresh humanure compost from a seasoned pile in 3t’s hand! We talked about attitudes towards dirt, or is it soil? and the art of making soil, to grow food. Later, a talk in the wood-shop, a look at raw lumber, and our hand-made wood products, all the while, Negralora, the famous black dog, loving the attention.

Thank you to Lizzette and Linda, and the teachers in training, who helped to manage the group.
Thanks also to Professor Fernando Silva Caraballo, el Director del Instituto de Ciencias para la Conservación de Puerto Rico (INCICO), for early discussions in organizing this field trip, as part of a continuing education in forest appreciation and active management.


Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras Facultad de Educación (DPE y EEUPR) en colaboración con la Oficina de Rectoría e InCiCo
Proyecto:
¡Al rescate del paisaje forestal del cuadrángulo del Recinto de Río Piedras de la Universidad de PR!

Conceptuado y desarrollado por: Dra. Lizzette M. Velázquez Rivera, Dra. Linda Clark Mora, el Dr. Eric I. Figueroa Gonzalez bajo el asesoramiento del Dr. Fernando Silva Caraballo; agosto a diciembre de 2016
Problema y participantes:
Entre los recursos naturales del Recinto de Río Piedras de la UPR se destaca la diversidad de flora que posee. Esta flora sirve de escenario en el cual ocurren innumerables interacciones que enriquecen la vida en este ecosistema urbano. Sin embargo, ante el paso del tiempo y el aumento de la demanda de uso de los terrenos del Recinto para diversos propósitos propios del urbanismo, su presencia también acarrea retos. Entre ellos se destacan la existencia de árboles viejos y enfermos que pueden presentar peligro y el impacto negativo de éstos árboles en las edificaciones.

No es cuestionado el valor estético, ecológico, histórico y científico; entre otros, que proporciona este paisaje forestal a este importante centro universitario de PR. Sin embargo, diversos sectores de la comunidad universitaria tienen diferentes perspectivas de cómo manejar apropiadamente estos árboles. Todos reconocen su importancia, pero en ocasiones sus medidas de acción se contraponen.

Oficina de la Rectoría de la UPR-RP tiene interés especial en promover una mayor consciencia en la comunidad universitaria sobre la presencia y la relevancia de la contribución que aportan los árboles al recinto. Además, está promoviendo una política que permita un mejor manejo de los mismos. Para ello, cuanta con la colaboración del Instituto de Ciencias para la Conservación de Puerto Rico (InCiCo) representado por el Sr. Fernando Silva Caraballo. Silva Caraballo integra a su equipo de trabajo al Dr. Edgardo González y juntos desarrollan la “Iniciativa forestal en el Recinto de Rio Piedras: para el rescate de la memoria histórica de su paisaje forestal y alternativas de estudio, evaluación y manejo de sus árboles y arboledas”.
Una de las instancias específicas que adopta esta iniciativa del Rector tuvo que ver con la respuesta a los requerimientos de sustitución y poda de varios árboles en las dos Escuelas Laboratorio de la UPR-RP como parte de un plan de mejoras a la infraestructura de ambos planteles escolares. Mediante una estrategia participativa diseñada y facilitada por Fernando Silva, se generó un proceso de diálogo, investigación y acción coordinada entre los diversos sectores y actores de la comunidad universitaria y escolar que permitió la integración de las APM, directores de ambas escuelas y una amplia participación de los estudiantes. El resultado produjo un informe de recomendaciones que fueron aprobadas por la Oficna de Rectoría y adaptadas al plan de sustitución y poda que fue propuesto originalmente.

Entre los resultados y lecciones aprendidas de este proceso surgen nuevas oportunidades de integración académica para la investigación y estudio de otros árboles en el Recinto.

Estudiantes de la Facultad de Educación son invitados a colaborar iniciativa forestal de la Oficina de la Rectoría de la UPR-RP en colaboración con InCiCo. Específicamente, futuros maestros del nivel elemental de los cursos que ofrece la Dra. Lizzette M. Velázquez Rivera y estudiantes de 6to grado, de la clase de ciencias de la Dra. Linda Clark Mora en la EEUPR, son invitados a participar del Proyecto ¡Al rescate del paisaje forestal del cuadrángulo del Recinto de la UPR-RP! Esto con el fin de aportar a la comunidad universitaria y escolar de PR, nuevo conocimiento sobre estos árboles. A su vez, presentar recomendaciones a Rectoría que permitan integrar la participación activa de los diferentes sectores y actores responsables e interesados en conservar el valor de los árboles del cuadrángulo del Recinto de Río Piedras.

Como parte de del proceso de aprendizaje de los futuros maestros de ciencias participantes, estos a su vez formaran parte del Proyecto para fomentar la integración de STEM en el currículo del Área de Ciencias de la Facultad de Educación de la UPR-RP, desarrollado por: Dra. Gladys Dávila Hernández, Dra. Lizzette M. Velázquez Rivera y Srta. Gilemi Sepúlveda Cuadrado. (1)Ver detales de este al concluir la descripción del Proyecto ¡Al Rescate!

Several links at the bottom of this page expand the topic for discussion.
Please contact 3t Vakil to see how you can bring your group to Las Casas de la Selva to make contact with the green.

Volunteer at Las Casas de la Selva

Se avecinan cambios forestales en la Escuela Elemental y Secundaria de la UPR

Invierten $3 millones en escuelas laboratorios de la UPR en Río Piedras

Millones para mejoras a las escuelas laboratorios de la UPRRP

Análisis del paisaje forestal en Puerto Rico

Author: 3t Vakil, October 2016

Contacto Verde – Tomas Vera Ayala School, 12 October 2016

We were delighted to receive 4th and 5th Graders (10-12 years) from Tomas Vera Ayala Elementary School in Patillas who came for a few hours to get a hit of the wonderful forest of Las Casas de la Selva!

As part of the new educational initiative in Puerto Rico Programa Contacto Verde, these students had a great time with Andrés in the forest, and around the Las Casas de la Selva Homestead. Thanks to Reinaldo Rivera Ortiz, Director of Citizen Help of Patillas, and the staff of the school for their enthusiastic collaboration.

Contacto Verde is a program created by the Department of Education and the Department of Natural Resources to facilitate the participation of students at all levels to visit and engage with places of ecological value in Puerto Rico; to encourage experiences with nature, as a complement to environmental education and as a tool to promote the strengthening of cognitive skills and student learning.

La Ley Núm. 36 de 23 de marzo de 2015 crea el programa de gestión ambiental Contacto Verde, adscrito al Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico y a ser desarrollado en coordinación con el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales. Esta ley también ordena crear un comité de coordinación y establecer sus funciones, facultades y deberes con el propósito de garantizar la participación de los estudiantes de todos los niveles del sistema educativo en talleres y actividades de visitas a lugares de valor ecológico en Puerto Rico, para fomentar las experiencias de contacto con la naturaleza como complemento para las gestiones de educación ambiental y como herramienta para propender al fortalecimiento de las destrezas cognoscitivas y de aprendizaje del estudiantado. El programa también busca fomentar la participación familiar en actividades ambientales, desarrollar la sensibilidad ambiental y el desarrollo integral de nuestros niños y jóvenes.

Images by 3t Vakil, and Group Pic by William Davidowski. 12th October 2016
Logo by DRNATAGS: EDUCATION,KIDS

Earthwatch Teen Team Expedition, June 2016

June was a very wet month, and we hosted an intrepid Earthwatch Teen team, that went way beyond comfort zones during their ten day stay. This Earthwatch Teen Team braved sometimes torrential rains to assist Principal Investigator Norman Greenhawk collecting Chytrid samples along the Ethnobotanical Nature Trail. The teens learnt teamwork rapidly and became skilled at how to set up collection plots, becoming familiar with the use of the compass, measuring tape, and twine. After letting the plots rest for two days, the team returned and conducted leaf-litter surveys, searching the fallen leaves and detritus of the forest floor for frogs and Sphaerodactylus geckos. All captured animals were weighed and measured, and all amphibians were swabbed to test for the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungus that can cause the amphibian disease Chytridiomycosis. This collection event is a part of Norman’s ongoing monitoring of Bd at Las Casas de la Selva.
See more about the Chytrid fungus: https://www.amphibiaweb.org/chytrid/chytridiomycosis.html
This team also measured and re-tagged 110 mahoe trees, (Hibiscus elatus), which are part of long-term study plots at Las Casas de la Selva, with Principal Investigator 3t Vakil.

Images by 3t and Chelsea Kyffin, who was the teen team facilitator.

Norman on sabbatical

In 2012 Norman Greenhawk was honored by Earthwatch with a Neville Schulman Award. The award is given for the training of emerging environmental leaders. For the award, Norman submitted a proposal: “Herpetological Conservation in the Neo-Tropics: An Interdisciplinary Approach”, and he is currently two and a half months into his seven month sabbatical.

June 2013: Above: Norman Greenhawk with Nahir Tejada in the PARC (Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project) quarantine room, located at Summit Zoological and Botanical Park in Panama. The frogs are being stored here in temporary housing as the project finalizes it’s relocation to the new facility in the nearby community of Gamboa. Every day, over 150 plastic tanks of frogs have to be cleaned and the frogs have to be provided with fresh water and food. Norman is holding an Atelopus limosus and Nahir holds an Atelopus glyphus. Collectively, members of the genus Atelopus are known as “Harlequin frogs”, and are highly susceptible to the Chytrid fungus that is decimating frog populations worldwide. The goal of PARC is to preserve a genetically diverse breeding population in captivity in the event that these species go extinct in the wild, as the Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki) is currently.

He has spent a month at La MICA Biological Field Station in El Cope, Panama. He has worked with Dr. Julie Ray, a specialist of Panamanian snakes and has also interviewed citizens of the rural barrio of Barrigon about their attitudes and beliefs about snakes. His time in Panama will end with a stint at the Panamanian Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project (PARC), which partners with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. PARC is a captive breeding program dedicated to preserving genetically diverse populations of Atelopus frogs, a genus of frogs that are highly susceptible to the Chytrid fungus, a disease currently wiping out populations of amphibians all over the world. While working at PARC, he is continuing his interviews of local and indigenous peoples, focusing on beliefs about reptiles and amphibians in general, as well as perceptions about conservation organizations.

Norman also has had an opportunity to conduct a very sobering interview that helps showcase why he is so focused on community outreach and partnership. On May 30th, Jairo Mora Sandoval, a Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist, was murdered by poachers who were angered at his efforts to attract the attention of police to a huge illegal turtle harvest. By chance, a former Las Casas volunteer was working with Jairo’s group when the murder occurred. He met with Norman and shared his story of what happened; Jairo was a young man, 26 years old. The night before his murder, he spoke of wanting to propose to his girlfriend. He was well liked by the community, and even by many of the local poachers. Such examples of violence are extreme, but not unheard of. Norman hopes that his continued outreach to communities around each of the conservation projects he is working at will help in some small way to prevent future tragedies such as this- on July 3rd, Norman flies to Belize to work with a crocodile sanctuary that was burned to the ground two years ago by Maya Indians who erroneously thought that two village children had been eaten by the crocodiles. We wish the best for Norman on his intrepid explorations!

Atelopus limosus male

Image by Brian Gratwicke [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons