Building Roots in Environmental Education

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rootsandshootsThis is the second in a two-part series about my visit to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

After my initial disappointment of not being able to travel to Kigoma, Tanzania to visit the Jane Goodall Center’s projects in Gombe National Park—thanks to mechanical problems on Precision Air —I decided that there was still a lot to learn about the Institute’s work at the Dar headquarters. Nsaa-Iya Kihunrwa, the Director of JGI’s Roots and Shoots program, explained further how the Institute’s work has evolved over the last 15 years.

JGI first started working with school children in the early 1990s through Roots and Shoots, a program that trains students and teachers about conservation. They’re striving, according to Mr. Kinhunrwa, “to create a generation of conscientious adults” who care about the environment.

Through Roots and Shoots, JGI has worked with the Tanzania Ministry of Education to train teachers to use environmental themes in their classrooms. When children are learning about fish and other foods, for example, teachers are now using experiential learning—taking kids to fish markets, for example—to identify breeds and varieties and talk about conservation. These new ways of learning help students make the connections between what they eat and the health of the planet.

These skills will help train the next generation of farmers, teachers, laborers, and businesspeople in Kigoma and elsewhere in Tanzania not only to be more aware of environmental issues, but to also become conservationists and help preserve wildlife and biodiversity in the area.

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