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Teaching at Agricultural  School

I came to Madagascar on the Marine Conservation project, knowing that most of my time will be spent dealing with marine life around the island of Nosy Be, including surveying under water and learning more about certain species. However, I still hoped to be able to catch glimpses into the other projects by Frontier, Forest and Community.

Both the Marine and the Forest team live on Frontiers camp in the village of Ambalahonko, roughly an hous boat ride away from Hellville. For this reason it is not uncommon for us mariners to go and join foresters on night walks, for example, and sometimes foresters will go snorkeling with us. My wish of being able to look into the Community Project came true this past week when I was presented to teach students at Agricultural School about a topic of my choice, marine related.

Agricultural School is essentially a type of boarding school that young people, aged 18 to mid twenties, attend to prepare for building up their own businesses in the field of agriculture or sustainable tourism. Many of the students want to become guides, which is why we teach them about animals as well.

During my stay here I've fallen in love with the sea turtles we have around Nosy Be so naturally I decided to give a lecture on marine reptiles, with a focus on turtles. I left camp for a few days with Monica, a marine Assistant Research Officer, and together, over the weekend,we prepared our lessons in Hellville. It was fun putting together ones own knowledge and more gathered information from textbooks and internet research. We adjusted the lessons to the resources we had, writing information on the blackboard and walking around the classroom with a computer, showing the students relevant images. On Monday Monica, Damon - a translator, and  I made our way to Agricultural school which is a little bit outside of town and I assisted Monica with her lecture about marine mammals, whales in particular. By assisting her first I could gain a sense of how things work and teaching my own lesson the next day was a bit easier. The students are very eager to learn and do their best trying to speak and ask questions in English. They're grateful for us coming out to teach them about things they did not know anything about before. I spoke to the students about reptiles in general and then specified on turtles: we discussed the difference between turtles and tortoises, talked about their reproduction and different diets of different species. Most importantly though, we spoke about dangers and threats facing sea turtles and things that we can do to help that situation.

Overall I feel that the lessons were very productive and very rewarding as well and if I ever get another opportunity to teach at Agricultural School then I'm sure I will seize it.

By Lauren Garcia-Berner - Madagascar Marine Conservation Volunteer

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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