|Members of the Environmental Education Center at Yunnan Normal University in Kunming have completed an education study to increase awareness of Black-necked Cranes and their conservation in communities surrounding Dashanbao Nature Reserve. This project includes an evaluation of the environmental knowledge of local populations and the development of education materials for students and their communities, including a school curriculum and education camps focusing on Black-necked Cranes. Researchers involved in this project also coordinated the Flying with Cranes website for our Chinese language audience, including the general public and schools in China and the United States.||
|Environmental Awareness Study
During the first phase of the project, educators completed an evaluation of local residents’ knowledge of cranes and their conservation needs. Following is a summary of this study by Zhu Miaoyuan, a student in the Department of Geography at Yunnan Normal University who completed her M.A. degree in May 2006.
A Survey of Environmental Education Needs for Black-necked Crane Protection at Dashanbao
With the support of the International Crane Foundation, project team members from the Environmental Education Center at Yunnan Normal University completed an education needs assessment on Black-necked Crane protection from September 30 to October 3, 2004. With the help of staff members at Dashanbao Nature Reserve, we interviewed approximately thirty local residents during the study, including village leaders, teachers, students and other community members. The teachers and students that we interviewed were from a local elementary and middle school. The villagers were from Che Lu and He Xing Villages. In addition to the interviews, a total of 450 questionnaires were distributed among community members. After the investigation, we analyzed information on environmental protection, Black-necked Crane protection, and environmental education to gain a better understanding of conservation awareness within the local communities. At the same time, we gathered background data on the economy, society, and ecology of Dashanbao, which will form the basis of future environmental education activities in the region.
Project team members conducted environmental educations camps near the Dashanbao Nature Reserve for local students in spring 2005 and 2006. The camps focused on Black-necked Cranes and the importance of protecting the wetlands and other natural resources within the reserve. In preparation for the camps, participating schools prepared drawings and other artwork focusing on cranes. An art contest was held at the end of the inaugral camp, and select pieces were sent to schools in the United States as part of ICF’s Children’s International Art Exchange.
Following is a summary of the 2005 camp by Zhu Miaoyuan and Wang Yimei of the Environmental Education Study Center at Yunnan Normal University.
Try Our Best to Protect Cranes
With financial support from the International Crane Foundation and the assistance of Dashanbao National Nature Reserve, the environmental education study team of Yunnan Normal University held a three-day winter camp in Zhaotong March 30-April 2, 2005. About 30 teachers and students from Dashanbao Center school, No. 1 Middle school of Zhaoyang District, and Che Lu Primary school, along with officials and nature reserve staff, took part in the camp.
During the winter camp, activities were divided into three parts: 1) teaching about protecting cranes and about wetlands and biodiversity; 2) organizing middle school and primary students for outdoor environmental education games; and 3) student art show focusing on the environment and cranes and a knowledge competition. The camp themes focused on the Black-necked crane spring migration study, wetlands, and how to reduce garbage in the students’ communities. Other camp activities included "Get to know my hometown," "Life Web," "Making a bird puppet," and "Wishing Tree". The activities focused on various skills, including knowledge, athletics and arts and crafts.
The major organizers of the camp were Dr. Wang Jingliang, Ren Xiang, Zhu Miaoyuan, Wang Yimei, and Yang Kunwu of Yunnan Normal University Environment and Education Study Center. Some activities also were led by the local teachers and nature reserve staff. During the activities, we taught the middle and primary students and teachers about protecting the environment, Black-necked Cranes, and wetlands in an interesting and easily understood way, and encouraged the students to learn by playing interesting games. At the end of the camp, the activities were evaluated by both the teachers and students. The participants felt that the length of the camp was too short and hoped for another camp like this. Because of the bad weather, the planned bird-watching activity was not conducted.
The purpose of this camp was, to a certain extent, to make the public aware of the importance of Black-necked Cranes and the local environment to make our hometown a better place.