Education and Health
Another big part of the work that comes out of ValBio are the outreach programs that send scientists and doctors into the remote villages. That’s a three hour hike into the rainforest, with all our gear, over hills and rivers, to a village without electricity.
Image: Crossing the river in a dug-out canoe with all our camera gear.
We spent several days with the teams that are engaged in a wide range of activities: from research projects, to educational programs, medical and dental check-ups, to delivering food and supplies.
One of the more interesting programs works with a village school to develop a science based curriculum for kids as young as the third grade. The idea is to teach the next generation about the natural sciences, grow their appreciation for their environment and prepare them for the conservation and sustainability challenges that are, and will be, facing Madagascar.
Image: Third graders in their science class.
Education is just one of the huge issues over there, but it’s the key to shifting the mindset of a people who often have to choose between burning-down the rainforest for farmland or “conserving” it for lemur habitat. (Not much of a choice when you’re starving.) The research teams are taking the long view, attacking the problem from many angles and starting with early education.