Children+Environmental Education=Sustainable Future
Hundreds of children from several schools around San José are educating their families and community members about sea turtles, and at the same time raising money through the sale of turtle stickers to support projects that protect these animals. The children are part of the “Save the Marine Turtles” campaign sponsored by Mamá Activa – a group of mothers with children ages 0 to 12 – and the Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas (Pretoma). By selling stickers that cost five hundred colones, the little protagonists learn to protect these animals, while at the same time collecting funding to be invested in sea turtle conservation projects.
Mamá Activa approached Pretoma earlier this year with the idea to collaborate in an environmental education program for children. Members from both organizations held interactive workshops in schools, teaching children about the different types of marine turtles that nest on Costa Rica’s beaches, about the threats they face, and how the kids can help protect these animals. Students were then given stickers with a baby turtle on them and asked to talk to friends and family members about what they had learned. Moms and dads, neighbors, and many others then collaborated by donating five hundred colones to the program with each sticker they purchased from the children.
“We have problems with the turtles, there are bad people who steal the turtles, their eggs, and meat, and they eat it, and we should never eat it again,” said four year old Felipe Sánchez from the pre-kindergarten of the San Clare College in a YouTube Video. “We shouldn’t build houses or hotels, not even put lights because if we do, the turtles will loose their place to go back to the ocean”, added the little conservationist. Through this video, Felipe managed to sell 100 stickers.
The educational centers were another important element in the program’s success. The West College, as well as Blue Valles and Saint Clare collaborated in very proactive ways. “Every day children are increasingly interested in conserving and protecting the environment, and working with these schools has been a wonderful experience,” said Alexia Garro from Pretoma’s Corporate Membership Program. “They are like sponges,” she continued, “they understood everything and have become excellent spokespeople for the turtles.”
Over six hundred children participated in the educational workshops, and they managed to sell more than a thousand stickers. The money raised will go toward the funding of sea turtle projects managed by Pretoma.
Marine turtles are constantly threatened by the commercialization of their eggs, light pollution on their nesting beaches, by the sale of tortoiseshell products, and by commercial fisheries. If you would like to participate in this campaign please contact Alexia Garro at her email address email@example.com or call 2241-52-27. For more information on Mamá Activa please visit their website at mamactiva.com.