By Tara Hauwert

I am Tara Hauwert and I want to share my observations and thoughts as an education initiative intern at Rainforest Partnership where I had the opportunity to go to local Texas schools and make presentations as part of the Rainforest Partnership team.

When we are children and adolescents we start exploring and experimenting to find our passions and the core interests we carry with us throughout our lives. We are always learning throughout our lives, but what we learn initially is what we build our future knowledge upon. Through Rainforest Partnership’s Education Initiative Program our team creates presentations filled with the knowledge of rainforests and communities to expose young minds to animals, people, and plants of the rainforest. Our presentations empower students to know the power of their voices and actions.

I have had the opportunity to watch childrens’ faces light up, their arms shoot up and wiggle around as they try not to burst out with an answer or burning question. I have seen the moment a child’s world expands to include people and animals they have never seen, but now start to care and wonder about. The photos, information, and engaging activities create a window for students to view the beauty and value of the rainforest, and to build a connection between the rainforest and their own memories of nature experiences and places they love at home. During one presentation, a student shared how his mom and him love to go to their nearby park, and watch the turtles and look for wildlife. Students share their experiences being outside just in their own neighborhood, you can see the connection and understanding students have created with their experiences in nature and the rainforests.

Our presentations show the interconnections the rainforest ecosystem creates, and how everything in the rainforest has a purpose. We also zoom out on the bigger picture to show how rainforests may seem far away, but they are a vital component in the system that upholds the world. However, the most lasting effect of our presentation is when students can personally create a connection between life in the rainforest with their own lives. Through our presentations, we hope to instill a love and appreciation for rainforests and their future preservation.

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If you are a student, a teacher, a parent or a grandparent in Central Texas, San Antonio or Dallas, and you would like to have us bring a presentation to your school, please write to us at info@rainforestpartnership.org and we would love to bring the rainforest– sights, sounds, stories and fun facts–to you!