By: Natalia Saavedra and Tiffany Wang

 

Last week on Wednesday, May 10th, we had an opportunity to spread the word on rainforest conservation to local classrooms in the community. We had the pleasure of working with The Odyssey School here in Austin, a private school that works with students with different learning disabilities like ADHD, dyslexia, and autism. Mr. Hendrickson, a science teacher for juniors and seniors, graciously opened his classroom to us for a short presentation on rainforest ecosystems and the work of Rainforest Partnership.

Our presentation started off providing a broad overview of rainforests around the world and defining the rainforest ecosystem. We then narrowed down to the Amazon Rainforest. We discussed the unique flora and fauna that live in the Amazon–everything from the Dart Poison Frog to the Pitaya fruit. Given the small size of the classrooms we were able to engage with each of the students. Students were especially curious about the fate of the many endangered animal and plant species in the Amazon and ways to conserve wildlife.

 

We then discussed the work of Rainforest Partnership and the many indigenous communities of the rainforest. We talked about the Achuar community and their efforts to help build a traditional medicinal center, as well as the Colibri Community and their work to create a butterfly sanctuary. Finally, we addressed the important role of the rainforest as the lungs of the planet and asked students how they could help save the rainforests from here in Austin. Students offered dynamic responses such as biking instead of using cars for transportation, donating to nonprofits working on conservation, and spreading the word about climate change.
While the students learned about rainforests, we learned a lot about the students. Many students not only already knew a lot already about rainforests, but also expressed interest in helping with conservation efforts to save the rainforest. This shows that future generations truly care about the environment and our planet. We look forward to a summer engaging more students within the Austin community on conservation efforts and sustainable communities in the rainforest.