Environmental Education

Environmental Education

What do you think of when you hear the term environmental education?

Perhaps it conjures up an image of kids out in the forest learning the names of different flora and fauna, or about the negative impacts of pollution and deforestation on the planet.

This type of environmental education, often known as “biological education,” is a valuable dimension of the field. But it is not the only learning and engagement strategy, nor necessarily the most effective for motivating action.

For that reason, we adopt multiple approaches and keep a broad suite of outcomes in mind, including cultivating nature connection, environmental identity, self-efficacy, social capital and more. As a result, our environmental education programs reflect the diversity of the field itself—from facilitating a long-term educational tree-growing project, to engaging young women in conservation, to connecting youth to their environment through sketching the nature around them.

No matter what the approach or goals, we place environmental education at the centre of our work because it is one of the most important tools in our toolkit for addressing the interconnected ecological and social challenges of our times.

As highlighted by UNESCO, “Education, in short, is humanity’s best hope and most effective means in the quest to achieve sustainable development.”

Children’s Forest

The Children’s Forest of Coto Brus is a collaborative environmental education and forest restoration project between Finca Cántaros Environmental Association and multiple community partners including the San Vito Bird Club, Las Cruces Biological Station and Osa Conservation. It aims to expand the reach of the existing forest of Finca Cántaros, a reforestation project started by Gail Hull in 1994 when she bought the property, and supporting the regional AmistOsa Biological Corridor efforts. The goal of this long-term “tree-growing” as opposed to short-term “tree-planting” project is to engage the participants in learning about and connecting to their forest over the years to come.

Women Committed to the Earth

Our “Mujeres Comprometidas con la Tierra” (Women Committed to the Earth”) program aims to address the importance of female empowerment, both in the context of conservation and positive youth development.

It is critical to create spaces for women to develop professional skills like leadership as well self-efficacy, which in turn build self-esteem. Such tools and confidence can help facilitate the flow of all their qualities and commitment (not only to conservation but to other causes), along with the capacity to confront and overcome barriers.

It is our aim to get to know the women in the community and understand their goals, strengths, challenges and lived experiences, in order to collaboratively develop the program activities and curriculum with them. We want to encourage more women to ask themselves: who are my female environmental heroes, both here in Costa Rica and beyond? And we want them to see environmental heroes in themselves.

To participate in the program, please visit our Get Involved page.

Nature Sketch

Finca Cántaros Environmental Association has partnered with the Bateman Foundation (Canada) and their Nature Sketch program to implement activities that engage students in observing and appreciating nature and wildlife through the lens of art. Such activities include a mix of close observation and art techniques such as using shapes, values and texture to capture the trees, birds, insects and more in one’s surroundings.

We are currently planning a collaborative exchange activity in which students from Costa Rica and Canada will share their art of local birds and their experiences observing and drawing the diversity in their respective countries.

Interested in getting involved in our environmental education programs?