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domingo, 22 de julio de 2012

Creativity overload, Scotland - Paraguay exchange and colouring in to save the cerrado!

Hi folks, Creativity is the theme of this weeks blog. Not only do we have an amazingly creative group but we also have a new community outreach project to tell you about. Last week we had 4 arrivals; Joe our new member of staff and 3 volunteers, Elizabeth, Maia and Leo. There are now 13 of us in the house and what an amazingly creative group! Zander has taught everyone how to crochet and we now have a house full of hats and gloves that these guys have made themselves. There is also a PLT monopoly board with species instead of properties and community chest cards with instructions such as “you get a paper published in Nature win 500,000” or “horses trampling your pitfall trap line miss a go”. And of course the currency is in Guaraní! With a group this creative it would have been foolish of us not to take full advantage of this skill base and so that is exactly what we have been doing. All of our moths and butterflies are now pinned and our colouring book for the local children is coming along in leaps and bounds thanks to Rosemary’s amazing artistic talent. Our signs around the reserve have received not only a paint job but have been decorated with pictures of local animals and the new museum displays are starting to look pretty amazing. The colouring book I mentioned is part of a community outreach project that we have recently got off the ground. The people in the nearby villages receive only a very basic level of education and there is little or no focus on creativity largely due to a lack of resources. However from experience we know that any opportunity for the children to be creative is met with a lot of enthusiasm. With this is mind we felt that producing a colouring book of the animals and plants in the reserve would be a great opportunity to teach the children about the cerrado and we hope it will help raise awareness about this important habitat from an early age. The colouring book is only a small part of this project however. We have teamed up a school in the local village with a school in Scotland and each child now has a pen friend in the other country. The children exchange postcards from their home country and the school in Scotland have also produced a colouring book so the children here have an opportunity to discover the species from another country and vice versa. This project has only just begun and we have more ideas in the pipeline that we hope will enable the children from both countries to learn about the cerrado and how important it is to protect this unique habitat. And finally this will be my last blog for a while as I am heading off on holiday next week for a 6 week stay in the oh so exotic United Kingdom (no the irony of taking a summer holiday in the UK does not escape me). While I can’t say I am looking forward to the weather I am REALLY looking forward to seeing my family and friends again after 16 months away (but maybe not as much as I am looking forward to eating mushrooms and hummus!). See you in a couple of months and don’t discover a new species for science without me! Hx

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