By: Jordan Sene, BRN Youth Education Program Coodinator
This fall, we offered our first youth program centered around jaguar habitat restoration and community resiliency. It was an 8-week internship course that included eight youth ages 15-20 from Douglas, AZ, Agua Prieta and Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico. The purpose of this introductory course was to teach youth interns about the importance of jaguar habitat restoration and building community resilience in our southwest region of the US/Mexico borderlands.
Youth interns learned about environmental and community restoration, conservation, binational collaboration, environmental justice, and overall sustainability with an emphasis on regenerative management of natural and cultural resources. We also hosted many conservation professionals and experts from both sides of the border from diverse backgrounds and experiences in their expert fields of conservation and jaguar habitat restoration. Interns learned about the causes of jaguars critically endangered status and mitigation efforts aimed to prevent the jaguar's extinction in the Sky Islands region. Those efforts include various methods of water and land restoration. Throughout this online course, interns worked on an applied project centered around jaguar advocacy and community resilience which they successfully presented during the final week of the course.
The Story Behind Jaguars 101: The youth interns from Agua Prieta conducted virtual storytelling behind the Jaguars 101 course and shared their internship experience through their presentations. The students gave their perspective on the course including, jaguar history, cultural value, jaguar biology, and their role in the Sky Islands ecosystem. The interns also produced a jaguar video. Their purpose behind this project was to demonstrate that internships can be personal, captivating, and engaging for a younger demographic.
Youth Workshop at Douglas Public Library: The Douglas youth interns from Cochise College completed a series of workshops for young children, ages 6-11, at the Douglas Public Library. They taught the younger children and their families how they can help their environment and why it's so important to do so. Their purpose was to educate the youth, their parents, and the community about the importance of healthy ecosystems, conservation, and wildlife.
Biodiversidad de Hermosillo: Hermosillo youth interns from the Universidad de Sonora focused their project on sharing and educating young children about entomology, the study of insects. Their project took place at a local children's home called Todos Somos Hermanos, where they taught young children environmental science-related topics through a series of workshops while making it a fun experience. The purpose was to generate sincere interest in the nature that surrounds them and learn to respect it. The series of workshops focused on mammals and tracks, desert plants, and insect diversity. Youth played games and completed activities such as plant pressing during each short course. The youth interns plan to continue these workshops as they continue practicing environmental education and citizen science.
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