Environmental Education Programme
Environmental Education should not only be taught in the classroom, it should be taken OUTDOORS. This is a concept that, though introduced into the local educational system by the Trust many years ago, is still relatively "new" to our islands. Outdoor education is the extension of the learning experience beyond the four walls of the classroom, bringing the Written Word to Life. It is an attempt to bring the lives of children particularly the urban child, the wonder of and intimacy with the out-of-doors. We believe that outdoor education offers children the chance to realize firsthand that they are surrounded by part of the eternal processes of life.
In 1979, the Trust initiated an environmental education programme with audio-visuals; the first to be taken into primary, secondary and senior comprehensive schools and community groups throughout Trinidad, and later on, in Tobago. In 1982, the 'hands on' field work at the Trust started and we initiated guided field trips for schools, scouts' and guides' groups to the Asa Wright nature centre, Toco and Matura.
Through the years, the Trust provided general and specific activities. These are adapted to suit students' and teachers' needs and the subjects are supplemented with audio-visual shows with interpretation.
Fieldwork at the Trust includes aquatic sampling, pond, leaf and feather labs; quadrat and transect sampling.
In our daily environmental education programmes, we teach about LINKAGES, we discuss all aspects of the natural environment and their interactions with and links to, human health and well-being, social and economic impacts, problems and solutions. We teach about wetland ecosystems, from forest to coral reefs and their links to people as we have a holistic approach to teaching.
The Trust believes that 'hands on' experiences are invaluable to awakening a young child's senses and that environmental education should be taken a step further, so, we launched a special programme for pre-schoolers with the concept of 'touch', 'feel', 'smell' and sometimes, 'taste'. This awakens tremendous wonder and interest in a child.
The Trust also holds workshops to assist schoolteachers and members of community-based organizations in promoting Environmental Education as we believe that this aspect can and must be infused in every curriculum subject, whether English, Geography, History, Maths, Social Studies, Music, Art or Drama. Environmental Education must be included in the State's Teacher-training programmes.
Out of a population of 1.4 million people, 21,600 visit the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust annually, of whom 16,000 are students.