Blog by MBP Volunteer, Colleen with help from Fullerton Magnet
“I have been a volunteer on the Black and White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) team with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership since June of this year. My sister, Laura Chan, has been a school teacher at Fullerton Magnet Elementary in Omaha Nebraska for over 10 years which has given me several opportunities to speak to her classrooms about my various travels and life living in different countries.
When I decided to volunteer in Madagascar, my sister thought about a way to integrate that into her classroom. The students had previously been Skyping with classrooms in different locations throughout United States. The kids would prepare a series of yes or no questions and try to guess the state based on the answers they were given. It seemed like it would be an easy transition to get them to apply the same logic and guess the country instead.
The students had about a week to prepare and I set up my computer to Skype from my tent site at KAFS using a fellow volunteer’s phone for Internet. The students started out trying to ask about rivers and rainfall but then quickly got the hang of me not being in the United States and were on a role. Some of the students actually figured it out pretty quickly once they determined I was in a country in Africa that touched the Indian Ocean. They kept asking questions however, and what really drove it home for them was finding out there were lemurs here and that there was a movie made about this country.
Once the kids guessed correctly I told them a little about the work we do here with lemur conservation and reforestation and answered some of their questions. They were all very interested and enthusiastic about what I was doing and hopefully we have some future volunteers in the group.
I have included a few photos of the classroom and one of me Skyping at my tent site. I am hoping to do this again soon with another set of students.
Cheers!” – Colleen