A few days ago, fifth grade students from the CEUNA School, located in San Rafael, Heredia, were taught about leaves, stems, and roots in their own school forest.
From leaves to Math
In a class led by the biologist Liliana Rodríguez from the Association of Volunteers of Protected Areas (ASVO) and funded by the Tropical Sierra Foundation (TSF), the group of 10 and 11 year olds moved from theory in the classroom to field work in the forest.
In the class, the students were reminded of how mathematical shapes like ellipses present themselves in leaves and some trees. A small demonstration with a heart-shaped leaf showed them the connection between leaves and the human heart. They were then transported into a story of primitive battles with spears and arrows, while discussing lanceolate-shaped leaves.
For an hour and a half, these Junior Tropic Joes Rangers learned about the mysteries of nature and related nature to their own lives, received training in environmental education programs, and above all, they saw how defending natural resources is the same as defending human life.
The teacher, María Luisa Paniagua, said, “we, as teachers, have received training in pedagogy, program management, and taking care of children. However, it’s not until the last few years that we have seen environmental issues as a vital aspect of every day, as a part of daily life and not just one more program for socializing the children. That’s why support from the Tropical Sierra Foundation is so important, so these concepts can be put into practice. “
The Tropical Sierra Foundation funds the Junior Tropic Joes Rangers Program as an educational alternative and training program for children and youth so they can help Tropic Joe rescue nature. For that, the Tropical Sierra Foundation supports ASVO as well as schools, like CEUNA, that are so open to these new ideas and puts them into action.
The big busines of leaves
If the leaves charged for their work, they would be millionaires!
Samantha Kennedy, a TSF biologist, states, “Leaves are vital for respiration and photosynthesis of plants. Thanks to them, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and Oxygen is produced, which allows humans to live. In this process of the leaves and plants, carbon is transformed into energy; it produces chlorophyll, food for the plant, fruit, seeds, and maintains a constant cycle of life which guarantees the presence of humans on Earth.”
Meet a Junior Tropic Ranger
Gustavo Bolaños Ramírez is 10 years old and in fifth grade. He has been a frequent visitor to the forest next to the CEUNA School in San Rafael, Heredia. He participated in this activity in the “outdoor classroom”.
“I have a plot of the area with two banana trees. I have helped label and maintain plants in the class nursery. Now, we are also working on a butterfly garden with the help of a lot of adults.
For me, the forest is a mysterious place that has unusual things and gives us many surprises. For example, we have seen rabbits here. In one part of this forest nothing that we plant survives.
Here, we have had classes about butterflies, leaves, individuals, species, and ecosystems. For example, when we lift up a rock we see all the life that exits hidden from the sunlight. Here, in the forest, we have come to listen and distinguish the different sounds. We have seen 5 different kinds of birds and frogs in the trees.”
Yes, the forest is a mysterious place, full of surprises!