Dr. Raquel Thomas, Director of Resource Management and Training at the IIC in an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), explained that the objective of the programme is to help build awareness among high school students on the negative effects of climate change, and the actions undertaken by Guyana to address these harmful effects.
Additionally, the programme will serve to support the vision of President David Granger for a Green Economy.
Dr. Thomas explained that 153 students and 11 teachers participated in workshops that were held at the Christ Church Secondary and President’s College in Region 4, Christianburg Wismar Secondary, Region Ten and the Berbice High School in Region 6.
Participants discussed and explored the role and importance of the Iwokrama Rainforest and other protected areas (Kanuku Mountains, Shell Beach, Kaieteur National Park and Konashen Community Owned Conservation Area); what is climate change, causes and effects, and actions taken internationally and by Guyana to address and counter this phenomenon, Dr. Thomas told GINA.
Dr. Thomas pointed out that this initiative is one of many first steps, to ensuring that information is taken to students, particularly on the coast, with a view of inspiring them to become passionate about environmental protection and management.
The students were particularly keen on visiting Iwokrama and the various protected areas in Guyana to have hands‐on experience of theoretical concepts taught in the classroom for subjects such as Geography, Tourism, Environmental Studies, Social Studies, and Agricultural and General Science subjects.
The Director noted that teachers and students from the various schools expressed enthusiasm for continued education and awareness programmes that would address climate change and biodiversity conservation.
As a spin-off of one workshop, participants of the Berbice High School will be competing against each other to design an innovative up‐cycling craft or equipment using waste materials. The winner of this competition will be gifted an all‐expenses paid trip to Kaieteur Falls, compliments of Mrs. Annette Arjoon‐Martins and Air Services Limited.
Iwokrama is positioned to lead efforts in research and education on sustainable development as part of the vision for a Green Economy. The centre will continue to fulfill its mandate, through the sharing of lessons learned in biodiversity and forest conservation, but most importantly, meeting the educational needs of students for generations to come.
The Iwokrama Centre is currently engaging the Ministry of Education and University of Guyana to discuss ways in which Iwokrama’s experiences, and resources can be better utilised to improve Guyana’s education delivery and research agenda.
The IIC was established in 1996 under a joint mandate from the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat to manage the Iwokrama forest, a unique reserve of 371,000 hectares of rainforest in a manner that will lead to lasting ecological and social benefits to the people of Guyana and the world in general.