The Chiriquí province is home to important wetlands and coastal mangroves, which provide a suite of ecosystem services to communities. Their conservation and protection has been a low priority – until now. Implemented by Panama Audubon Society, the Aulas Verdes program provides environmental programming to schools in underserved and vulnerable communities across Panama. Originally focused on the nation’s capital (Panama City), funding from the Islas Secas Foundation enabled the Aulas Verdes program to expand to the Chiriquí region of Panama in 2016, serving over 400 students at five local schools.
Aulas Verdes seeks to inspire local environmental stewardship. Over the past year, students in Bay of Chiriqui schools have received 6.5 hours of environmental education a week, with a curriculum that promotes a greater understanding of the benefits that coastal wetlands provide for people and biodiversity. Lessons encourage student to think critically and collaborate to solve environmental problems that face their region.
The positive impact of Aulas Verdes reverberates in local communities. For instance, to close out the year and mark the return of the many migratory bird species that pass through Panama every fall, each of the participating schools hosted a bird festival, inviting local community members to participate. student-led plays and songs, a bird costume contest from recycled materials, and mural competitions between participating classrooms. With over 100 participating community members, the bird festivals highlighted the amazing impact that the Aulas Verdes program has on local students and beyond in Chiriquí.
Find out more about Aulas Verdes here