The Amazon outreach session has been very popular with primary schools for over 2 years and our Big Saturdays in the Museum with live animals are always a favourite. Pupils get to handle some great objects including a jaguar skull, Brazilian Indian fishing arrows, a parakeet and Amazon insects. During the sessions we often get asked questions about what life is like for children living in the Amazon and we thought it would be a good idea for pupils to find out themselves. A great opportunity arose a few weeks ago when Johan Oldekop from the University’s department of Life Sciences offered to help out.
Johan is a PHD student who has visited Ecuador a number of times and spent time with communities in the Payamino area. The Payamino Project is a community conservation and development project. Situated in the foothills of the Andes, east of Quito, the indigenous community of San Jose de Payamino entered into an agreement with Aalborg Zoo in 2002 to protect their forest and way of life from the increasing pressures of oil, logging and mining.
Johan left on his final PHD visit to Ecuador on 9th July and he very kindly took a gift pack from the Learning Team to give to the children in the community. We sent pens, pencils, rubbers and furry bugs, photos of Manchester school children enjoying our Amazon outreach session and lots of questions for the children in the community from Year 2 of St Augustine’s Primary in Manchester. Johan is translating the questions into Spanish and we are looking forward to him returning with lots of interesting answers, as well as questions for the children of Manchester.
We also sent out a couple of footballs and we hope to post some photographs of the children having a kick about when Johan returns at the end of the summer!
We are hoping that this is the start of a valuable relationship between children in Manchester and the Amazon and an excellent opportunity for them to share and learn about all aspects of each others lives.
If you would like to find out more about Johan’s work you can visit
For more information about the Payamino project go to http://www.payamino.org
And to find out about the new Living Planet gallery opening in 2011 visit http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/community/blogs/nature