Ecuador

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

GSE’s Eco-Action Education program in Bahia de Caraquez involves 125 students at 4 schools in restoring their local environment and engaging their community in sustainable practices. Local GSE Director Ramon Loor is a Natural Science teacher and a steward of la Punta Gorda Natural Preserve who connects students to projects focused on: reforestation, recycling, water scarcity, organic agriculture, climate change, and the effects these issues have on the local community.

LOCATION BACKGROUND

Ecuador’s varied geography, climates, and ecosystems make it one of the most diverse places in the world, both biologically and culturally. Bahia de Caraquez is a coastal community that was gravely affected by El Niño in 1997 and a devastating earthquake in 1998. Following these natural disasters, local environmental groups re-envisioned Bahia as an ‘Eco-City’ and the populace has since placed a growing emphasis to manage the city and surrounding area in a sustainable manner. Western Ecuador as a region has suffered some of the world’s worst rates of deforestation. GSE’s Eco-Action Education program engages the next generation in helping to develop a culture of environmentalism by teaching youth about environmental action such as reforestation of the Punta Gorda Natural Preserve.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
  • Native tree reforestation
  • Community education
  • Increase biodiversity
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

GSE students have:

  • Reforested over 8,000 trees at ‘La Punta Gorda’ Nature Preserve and reforested 1,500 mangroves
  • Built a greenhouse used for seed propagation
  • Built 2 school gardens – used for education and food production
  • Painted Information Murals about new city wide composting and recycling programs
THE IMPACT IS MULTIFACETED:

Reforestation, habitat restoration and addressing climate change: together Bahia participants and visiting students from Northern California have planted over 6,000 trees at La Punta Gorda Nature Preserve. Year-round Bahia students prepare for reforestation by collecting seeds for propagation and caring for seedlings that are subsequently planted during springtime exchanges. Reforestation at the equator is particularly effective at remediating global warming because heat helps create important water vapor off trees that combats global warming.

School Partnerships: students at 3 schools meet on a weekly basis to organize for projects, engage in youth leadership training and environmental education workshops.

Organic Garden Model: GSE projects serve as a model of organic agriculture, which demonstrate the ability of local communities and individuals to adopt home gardening practices to grow large amounts of food in relatively small spaces.

Community Engagement: Students make presentations to classmates about the importance of environmental, and paint educational murals in partnership with the city government to educate locals about new composting and recycling programs. GSE student participants in days of action with their peers to get involved such as coastal clean up days when trash is removed from the beaches and mangrove habitats.

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