THE RACE: GULF OF GUINEA VIII NEARS COMPLETION
Our eighth expedition has been a very different one; except for GG V this has been our only all-education mission. Readers will recall that our biodiversity awareness program began in 2010 when we assessed the curriculum for biology in school across both islands. Then we began annual distribution of educational materials to a cohort of 2,000 third graders in widely separated schools on both islands. These kids are now in the fifth grade and will move on to different schools next year, so this has been our last meeting with them.
Below are a series of images of our activities over the past three weeks; most are by our indomitable and brilliant photographer, Andrew Stanbridge, who returned to Europe a couple of days ago. I, Velma Schnoll, our Education Project Director and Roberta Ayres, our Senior Science Educator, remain to finish GG VIII.
Our yearly meeting with Hon. Pres. Jose Cassandra of Principe. Filling him in on our activities in the schools.
In each classroom we make a standard presentation of our materials and explain their meaning; in this case the biodiversity booklets.
Roberta Ayres, Senior Science Educator, describing the book in Portuguese.
Velma Schnoll, Education Project Manager, handing out booklets to students.
This year we asked the teachers to choose two students to read selected passages from the booklet to the rest of the class.
Some of these classrooms are really crowded.
On Saturday, April 12, we gave a public lecture/teacher workshop on the more advanced concepts behind the biodiversity booklet. There were over 55 in attendance, including the President and the Secretary of Education for Principe.
Usually after large presentations we are interviewed by the local television stations and these always appear a day or two later on the six o’clock news!
A continuing joy to us is to find our materials presented in years past. We brought these posters in 2011 on GGV. We think their continued presence and use are a testimony to the effectiveness of our program.
Roberta Dos Santos of StepUp, Education Liaison.
Quintino Quade of StepUp, Education Liaison. Without strong support of Sao Tomeans like Quintino and Roberta since the very beginning in 2000, we would not have been able to carry on the Gulf of Guinea Expeditions. Here, Quintino and I are presenting to a classroom in Sao Tome a few days ago.
Here's the parting shot.
We are most grateful to Arlindo de Ceita Carvalho, Director General, Victor Bomfim, and Salvador Sousa Pontes of the Ministry of Environment, Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe for their continuing authorization to collect and export specimens for study, and to Ned Seligman, Roberta dos Santos and Quintino Quade of STePUP of Sao Tomehttp://www.stepup.st/, our “home away from home”. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the G. Lindsay Field Research Fund, Hagey Research Venture Fund of the California Academy of Sciences for largely funding our initial two expeditions (GG I, II). The Société de Conservation et Développement (SCD) and Africa’s Eden provided logistics, ground transportation and lodging (GG III-V), and special thanks for the generosity of private individuals who made the GG III-V expeditions possible: George G. Breed, Gerry F. Ohrstrom, Timothy M. Muller, Mrs. W. H. V. Brooke, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Murakami, Hon. Richard C. Livermore, Prof. & Mrs. Evan C. Evans III, Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Taylor, Velma and Michael Schnoll, and Sheila Farr Nielsen; GG VI supporters include Bom Bom Island and the Omali Lodge for logistics and lodging, The Herbst Foundation, The “Blackhawk Gang,” the Docent Council of the California Academy of Sciences in honor of Kathleen Lilienthal, Bernard S. Schulte, Corinne W. Abel, Prof. & Mrs. Evan C. Evans III, Mr. and Mrs. John Sears, John S. Livermore and Elton Welke. GG VII was funded by a very generous grant from The William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation, and substantial donations from Mrs. W.H.V.“D.A.” Brooke, Thomas B. Livermore, Rod C. M. Hall, Timothy M. Muller, Prof. and Mrs. Evan C. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. John L. Sullivan Jr., Clarence G. Donahue, Mr. and Mrs. John Sears, and a heartening number of “Coolies”, “Blackhawk Gang” returnees and members of the Academy Docent Council. Once again we are deeply grateful for the continued support of the Omali Lodge (São Tomé) and Bom Bom Island (Príncipe) for both logistics and lodging and especially for sponsoring part our education efforts for GG VII and GG VIII. Substantial support has already come in for our next expeditions from donors in memory of the late Michael Alan Schnoll, beloved husband of our island biodiversity education Project Manager, Velma.
Our expeditions can be supported by tax-deductable donations to “California Academy of Sciences Gulf of Guinea Fund”