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Environmental Education

OELO organizes environmental education programs in 14 primary and secondary schools in the Lambaréné region, and sponsors stewardship projects with student-led nature clubs.

Stephanie Mahinou Makaya joined the OELO team in 2013 as our Environmental Education and Outreach coordinator. OELO launched its environmental education (EE) program in 5 primary and 6 secondary schools in the Lambaréné region between September 2013 and June 2014 (Lycée Privée Adiwa, Lycée Nguema Mboumba, Lycée d’Etat Charles Mefane, Lycée Fangui Noveny, College Enseignment Secondaire de Lambaréné George Rawiri, Collège Notre Dame de l’Ogooué, Ecole Privé Protestant Adouma, Ecole Petit Paris III, Ecole Catholique d’Isaac, Ecole Publique Jacqueline Rawiri, and Ecole d’Atsie).

Over the course of our first academic year OELO reached over 3,000 students and 60 teachers during 56 presentations. Stephanie and the OELO team developed collaborative relationships with the directors and science teachers of 11 schools and adapted lesson plans to meet the needs of each school (See the EE photo gallery below). In the classroom, Stephanie uses activities including games and quizzes to identify protected species and to simulate real life situations in markets, restaurants, and at home. She prepares students via role-playing on how to avoid purchasing, participating in hunts, or eating bushmeat form protected species and to learn how to spread the conservation message to family members. She educates students on hunting seasons, protected species laws and consequences.

Outside of the classroom, Stephanie formed four nature clubs at secondary schools and a fifth nature club of elementary school students, “Les Bambins de la Nature,” that meet on weekends at her house. Each of the secondary school clubs were organized in partnership with a school faculty sponsor.

At the end of the school year, OELO organized a capstone event: our first annual World Environment Day. On June 7th 2014, we invited the nature clubs from all participating schools to present on environmental themes in front of the larger Lambaréné community. To open the event OELO commissioned a mural of protected species by a local artist painted on the wall of a classroom at a local middle school, C.E.S. (See World Environment Day photo gallery). The mural was unveiled by a representative from the Governor’s office and by the superintendent of schools. In attendance in the audience were representatives from the Mayors’ offices, the Governor’s office, the local school system, the head of the justice system, representatives from the Fisheries Department, a representative from the local office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and over 300 citizens, fellow students, and family members. Each of the five student clubs presented skits, dances, poetry readings, and musical theater. A panel jury of community members graded the presentations and awarded prizes to the highest ranked groups. Prizes included school supplies, T-shirts, conservation themed posters and stickers and a trip to Tsam Tsam for the grand prize. Also in attendance were the national paper, the national radio and the national TV (See resources for press coverage of OELO).

Due to the success of this program in 2013-2014, the superintendent of schools has asked OELO to expand to additional schools and classrooms for the 2014-2015 school year. In 2014-2015, each nature club in the schools where we work will be chosing a stewardship project: including neighborhood clean-ups and outreach on protected species.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Activities

The OELO Environmental Education Coordinator, with help from other OELO team members, leads conservation- and biodiversity-themed presentations in classrooms of 14 Lambaréné primary and secondary schools. In 2014, her presentations focused on Protected Species and Hunting Laws, Biodiversity and...
In June 2014, OELO hosted its first annual World Environment Day Showcase at C.E.S. middle school in Lambaréné. A mural of protected species was commissioned with a local artist and unveiled at the event on one of the classroom walls. Nature clubs from 5 participating schools presented sketches,...
Many schools in Lambaréné have no trash receptacles. Kids see adults throwing trash on the street and into the river and think throwing waste on the ground is normal. OELO's Environmental Ed Coordinator Stephanie works with student groups to clean up school grounds and develop waste management...
OELO distributes questionnaires in our EE classes to monitor attitude changes and knowledge with time. Early results from our baseline surveys indicate that a majority of students indicates someone in their family hunts species fully protected by Gabonese law including forest elephants, African...