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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Daniel, Thomas F. [1], Schnoll, Velma [2], Boyer, Jim [2], Drewes, Robert C. [3].

Repatriation of Biological Research Results through Educational Programs on the Islands of São Tomé and Prí­ncipe.

Since 2001 scientists and educators from the California Academy of Sciences have conducted seven multidisciplinary expeditions to the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. These two islands are part of an archipelago that includes both oceanic and continental islands of varying ages, sizes, and distances from mainland Africa. Endemism of numerous taxa (e.g., amphibians, birds, Begoniaceae, Orchidaceae, Rubiaceae) is remarkably high. The first three expeditions included scientists, students, and photographers; each of the last four expeditions also included one or more professional educators. Thirty-one scientists and students representing 14 biological subdisciplines have participated to date. Scientific discoveries resulting from the expeditions have been reported in 20+ scholarly publications. Because oil has been discovered in the nation's territorial waters, major changes are forthcoming for these remote and largely undeveloped islands. Knowledge of their biotic systems and resources, both marine and terrestrial, will be essential for making informed decisions as development proceeds. Collaborating with local educators and using research results of the expeditions, we developed educational materials for primary schools on the islands: five different posters featuring photographs/names of plants and animals endemic to one or both islands (200 laminated posters distributed); a coloring book featuring many of the same plants and animals pictured on the posters, but with additional information about them (2,000 books and sets of colored pencils distributed to third grade students); and decks of "biodiversity activity cards" featuring endemic or important plants and animals (black cards with organisms from São Tomé, red cards with similar organisms from Prí­ncipe; 2,000 decks distributed). Project educators developed curricula and games for each set of materials. Goals of these educational materials are to augment the biology currently taught in schools using local examples, and to stress the uniqueness of the plants and animals of the nation--practices that were not previously part of the biological curriculum. Future goals include publication of a natural history guide for the islands and construction of a museum of natural history for the benefit of the local population and tourists. Both research and educational activities have been enthusiastically welcomed on the islands, and each activity has reinforced the other via content and fund-raising. The entire project has benefited by collaboration among scientists, educators, artists, photographers, museum docents, and volunteers.

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Related Links:

1 - California Academy of Sciences, Botany, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA
2 - California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA
3 - California Academy of Sciences, Herpetology, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA


Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Grand Salon A - D/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTE001
Abstract ID:157
Candidate for Awards:None

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