Thursday, January 14, 2010

Snow leopard conservation curriculum launched for middle schoolers

Students Helping Snow Leopards

Last Fall, with support from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Snow Leopard Trust, in collaboration with Facing the Future, launched a new curriculum entitled – Engaging Students in Conservation: Protecting the Endangered Snow Leopard. (Download the 7 Mb PDF file) This interdisciplinary curriculum has five dynamic lessons geared for 5th – 8th grade. The lessons culminate in a service learning project that can be implemented as a fundraising activity for your school or for a community conservation project.

This winter, two schools piloted the service learning project. At the Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy in Louisiana, teacher Susan Bower’s 7th grade science class spent a few weeks learning about snow leopards and the conservation issues facing this endangered species. They then organized a fundraiser that would raise money not only for their school and for snow leopard conservation, but would also raise awareness by telling others about what they learned. In just one week, they collected over $222.00 by taking orders for holiday ornaments and felted cat toy mice. Of that amount, $111.00 went to the Snow Leopard Trust and the rest will be used for a school project. This is a fabulous and sustainable alternative to selling wrapping paper or chocolate bars.

Kayla Tarr, a 7th grader from Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy wrote:

“For the past few weeks, Ms. Bower’s seventh grade science class has been studying the snow leopard. We have learned about the habitat, diet, adaptations, and threats of this animal that is a keystone species of its environment. Through different lessons, including an interactive one in which everyone played a different species of a snow leopard’s ecosystem, the class learned about keystone species and how they affect their environment. In addition, a mock town meeting was held where each group role played organizations, businesses, and others who are affected by the snow leopard in some way. At the end of the meeting, we voted on a solution that would benefit both the people living in the area and the snow leopard. To end the project, the class sold ornaments and cat toys for a fundraiser. Made by the crafts people who live in the mountains alongside the snow leopards, the money raised by sale of the ornaments and toys is split between the school and the Snow Leopard Conservation Organization. Further, this money goes to both the conservation and protection of the snow leopard and the people who live near them. …the class was able to make $280 dollars and sell 87 items total, thanks to the help of the parents, students, teachers, and others who contributed to the fundraiser.”

The Sharpstein Elementary School in Walla Walla, Washington chose to have a month long Information and Sales Booth at their school. Sharing information about what they had learned about snow leopards and endangered species, they sold during teacher-parent conference weeks and over the holidays. Together, the students in Teacher Mary Cortinas’ class raised more than $5,100 from selling the products! Because they purchased the products at discounted wholesale prices from the Snow Leopard Trust, $2,760 came back to the Trust and the additional $2,400 was kept by the school for a project of their own choice. In fact, the fundraiser was so popular, that Ms. Cortinas chose to hold on to the products they didn’t sell, so they could try and sell them later in the year. It was a win-win for the school and for snow leopards. Find out how your local school can do the same!

Download the free curriculum (7 Mb PDF file) or if you have any questions or comments, call 206-632-2421 or email jennifer@snowleopard.org.

http://www.blog.snowleopard.org/?p=511

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