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Teacher Workshop May 2017
Improving Environmental Science Education

The core of the Adopt-A-School program is training the teachers to provide better learning opportunities for their students. The overall effort is to improve education in all the schools we work with, and that’s why this year’s teacher trainers are flying in from New York and Lima, and joining us from our own Iquitos, Peru. All trainers will provide hands-on outdoor classes, the same classes that the teachers will replicate with their students.

Karen Purcell, an ornithologist from Cornell University, will teach bird identification and give activities to build understanding of each bird’s role in the larger ecosystem. Joaquin Leguia, director of ANIA (an organization from Lima dedicated to improving the lives of children and the environment), will teach how to turn jungle into kids’ gardens and activity spaces while teaching plant and wildlife facts in the process. Elsa Rengifo, from the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute, will teach how to grow medicinal plants and use them for good health.

Our plan, together with the Board of Education representatives who will join us at the workshop, is to follow up with teachers in their classrooms during the school year to help them integrate these new ideas into their daily lesson plans. We're sure that our investment in these workshops will help teachers pass on important conservation education to their students. We have found that people take better care of nature when they better understand it

Adopt-A-School 2017:
Successful School Supply Delivery to 54 Communities

As of April 27, all of the schools in communities partnering with CONAPAC have received their school supplies. This completed our annual delivery to 109 schools. Teachers, students, and classrooms received essential items to carry out lesson plans throughout the entire school year.

At nearly every community, children put on appreciation ceremonies that ranged from dances in ancestral clothing to elaborate performances showing the masato preparation process. Masato is a prized fermented drink made from yuca (manioc), said to provide nutrients and strength to keep workers strong throughout a day’s work in the hot tropical sun.

Those who joined us from the USA and Australia had a wonderful time. Please visit our Facebook page for many pictures of this year’s events. You’ll smile at the great shots of fun moments. Volunteers during the first week were able to greet communities, receive numerous handmade gifts, hand out school packets to the delight of the kids, and see first hand the difference that their support and presence makes.
Second week volunteers visited a few communities to make school supply deliveries, and then joined the kids and parents of Santa Lucia during construction of a school kitchen. Some volunteers dedicated themselves to the building, others led students in craft activities, and others played sports outside with kids of all ages. By the end of the first day, bonds were formed despite language barriers. By the end of the third day, parting was difficult. The kids attending were visibly delighted by the positive attention. One 4-year-old child, Kennedy, who typically never speaks, even broke out of his shell and went around declaring his pride in creating a hanging craft item. “Mira!” he said to all he could find.

Thank you to all who joined us this year. We know that what is important to you is the kids and how you bond with them and support them. We care about them in the same ways, and deeply appreciate your ways of showing you care.
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Water Filtration Towers Updated with New Filters

CONAPAC consistently checks on the status of water filtration towers that we have built. In many cases, the community water operators independently fix and maintain their systems with the materials and parts needed, thanks to the training we provide them. CONAPAC steps in to help when there is a change of operators or when new filters need to be installed.

This month, we helped two communities replace filters after years of use. The community's water committee requested our help and we followed up thoroughly. The pictures of the event and results are in our Facebook photo albums.

Lucky Iron Fish

During this year's Adopt-A-School events Adopt-a-Village International donated a possible source of dietary iron. Iron in the diet helps kids feel more mentally focused and physically strong. A product made of iron shaped into a smiling fish, labeled “Lucky Iron Fish," is widely available to the developing world with simple instructions on how to add it to the cooking pot. Diets that consist mainly of fish and rice may not have the required iron to keep kids fully engaged in life. This simple supplement could make a difference in diminishing iron deficiency.

CONAPAC thanks Karen Yuan and Barb Beaton from Adopt-A-Village for donating the first batch of Lucky Iron Fish. They are now being used in four school kitchens, and that’s just the beginning.

Boat buses launched

EKOAMAZON partnered with CONAPAC this month to build and install two boats to transport students to high school daily. Over 30 students now have transportation on these reliable, safe, well-constructed boats. CONAPAC personally oversaw the construction and created a detailed logistics system to allow the boats to be used cost free to the students. The system provides transportation to teachers between the high school and the nearest speedboat port before and after the school week. Teachers are charged for using this service but it is less than other transportation options and our boats are safer transport.

Thank you to Ron and Nancy Rossi for establishing EkoAmazon to support us, for working hard to identify the most impactful activities, and for trusting CONAPAC to responsibly use donated money to launch these great projects.

New Criteria Created for Teacher of the Year

In order to set the standards of excellence in teaching, CONAPAC will be installing a new set of criteria for selecting one teacher for an annual Best Teacher prize. The criteria will show what we want all of our teachers to be -- inspiring leaders of the children they teach and the community members with whom they live. We want teachers in our partner communities to push kids to think critically and produce independently, to motivate parents to work hard for community health and development, and to engage everyone in ongoing conservation efforts. This prize rewards teachers who have best worked toward realizing the dream of CONAPAC -- simultaneous social development and nature preservation.

Some of the criteria evaluators will look for are:
• The teacher promotes active learning and successfully encourages students to think imaginatively, critically, and independently.
• The teacher helps students appreciate the relationship between the subject taught and its relationship to their lives.
• The teacher effectively engages the community members and leads them in conservation efforts.

2018 AAS Dates: April 7-15 / April 14-22


The dates for the 2018 Adopt-A-School program have been set. If you would like to join us for school supply deliveries or school kitchen construction, please send in your registration form now. Three volunteers are already signed up! The kids here in the Amazon await you! Find out about AAS.
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Supporting CONAPAC

Our efforts are successful because people like you care. If you desire to donate to specific projects, send in your donation through the Detroit Zoological Society with a note indicating the project name. Know that we are always striving to maintain our reputation as a high-impact nonprofit and that 85% of every dollar donated goes directly to bringing services and supplies to communities. We respect the value of your generosity and honor it by continuing to make a difference here in the Amazon.
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Find out what's happening downriver by reading staff members James's CONAPAC partner communities blog and Fernando's Amazon Library blog.
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CONAPAC is a Peruvian non-profit organization whose mission is to promote conservation of the rainforest through education of its stewards, the people who live along the Amazon and Napo Rivers. Our centerpiece project is the Adopt-A-School program, which is strengthened by workshops and complemented by service and sustainable projects in river communities.
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