In Our Hands
Schools Environment Awareness Programme

Most  environmental degradation occurs as a result of ignorance. Because Man - and that means you and me - does not understand the value, structure and functioning of the environment and the extent of his impact upon it, human activities are quickly destroying our natural world.

Much of this damage can be reduced if people are helped to understand the importance of the inter-connections between all life and the environment, and learn to care for their surroundings in an active way.

Guardian Life identified its interest for the protection of the environment through the establishment of a Wildlife Trust Fund in 1992 and has since then been associated with several educational projects to ensure a conscientious awareness is achieved. More recently, Guardian Life agreed to sponsor a pilot programme for schools on environmental awareness. Three schools participated: Lakshmi Girls Hindu College, Trinity College and Presentation College, San Fernando.

Entitled "In Our Hands", the pilot programme was developed by Wendy Yawching, Director of Wildways and fell in line with their mission to "make a positive difference in the state of the environment by changing people's awareness of and respect for the natural environment through the use of adventure and nature travel activities". The Wildways team and Guardian Life share the belief that we have to start with the youth.



The Promise of the
Pawi

full colour on recycled paper; 24 pages, saddle-stitched. Available at TT$65
Pride In Pawi: Preserving a National Treasure

The Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi, Pipile pipile, is endemic to Trinidad and is globally among the most endangered cracids. With a population of approximately 230, its conservation status is listed as critically endangered.

read details

And were they ready! Seventy-two students, 15 - 18, enthusiastically delved into the Rainforest, Circle of Life"; "Air and Water" and "Holes in the Fabric - Save the Environment, Save Yourself" - three of which combined the classroom sessions with field trips.

Bird watching at the Asa Wright Centre, kayaking down the Nariva swamp and trekking through the hills of the Northern Range all formed part of the outdoor education section. Participants were exposed to the flora and fauna of Trinidad & Tobago, how man, animals and plants need each other, and shown, through the cycle, how death brings forth life in our
environment. Students were then required to write an essay on the areas covered.

Students were amazed at how much they took for granted about their surroundings and how important it is for them to now spread the knowledge gained from this programme. As one teacher said "I will never look at a 'bachac' the same way again". This enthusiasm and new knowledge prompted the students to undertake an environmental project: Trinity planted trees in the burnt-out St. Ann's hills, Lakshmi Girls' chose to clean-up parts of the Manzanilla Beach and Presentation College started a glass bottle collection for recycling and a clean up programme for their school's surroundings.

Based on the feedback from students and teachers and the hardworking members of Wildways, Guardian Life was proud to be the sponsor of yet another successful project and extends sincere thanks to the staff of Wildways Limited, participants and all those who contributed to the success of this programme.

Further information on the Guardian Life/Wildways Schools Environmental Programme can be obtained from Wendy Yawching at wildways@trinidad.net (Email) or 623-7332.  Or browse the Wildlife Trust Fund website, www.glwildlife.org, and email us at Maria.Paul@ghl.co.tt .  You are also invited to browse our Guardian Life website.