Enhancing Youth Awareness About Suriname’s Extraordinary Natural Richness

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Earlier this year, a completed series of Junior Park Ranger guides was presented during a special event in at the Tori Oso cultural center in Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo. The purpose of the series is to enhance the awareness of both indigenous and non-indigenous students regarding Suriname’s extraordinary natural richness.

The guides, published by the Amazon Conservation Team, were drafted by ACT’s Katia Delvoye, with design by Brigitte Kuchler. Katia has two decades of experience working with Surinamese communities to advance education and environmental awareness.

Katia developed the publications with the indigenous rainforest villages of Apetina, Tepu, Kwamalasamutu and Sipaliwini. The three separate topics—Animals, Plants, and My Environment—arose from discussions with the village schools’ headmasters, who have observed the knowledge areas where their students have traditionally done poorly.

In addition, students of the villages created drawings for the guides. “This means that each village child will recognize their work in the books,” notes Katia.

The four villages that contributed to the creation of the guides each receive copies for their school, enabling the teachers to use the books as part of the lesson. Beyond environmental consciousness, a hope is that study of the guides will also contribute to higher student scores on Suriname’s national primary education tests. The guides contain many games to make the material as accessible as possible.

A further intention is that the Junior Park Ranger books be readily available to students in the city and other districts. Katia has applied for the full series to be placed in the Green Education Chest, an ongoing initiative in which Suriname’s public schools each receive a box containing materials that assist in nature and environmental education. The schools’ media librarians are also receiving special training. Meanwhile, the Paramaribo Zoo uses the guides during educational lessons provided to visiting school groups.

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