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close this bookTeaching Conservation in Developing Nations (Peace Corps)
close this folderChapter 5: Conservation education in a community center
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCooperative programs
View the documentLeadership training
View the documentThe community environment
View the documentSource materials - Chapter 5


A community center is an excellent place to provide conservation education. The specific problems of the area which your community center may be trying to deal with. such as improvements in health, nutrition, agricultural production, sanitation and marketable resources, can frequently be treated from an environmental point of view. When you identify the relationships between the problem and the environment, you can begin to solve the problem.

If your community center provides the only public service in the community, perhaps you and your community members could decide together on an environmental program which would be of community-wide interest and benefit. You should then invite government extension teachers and workers in conservation areas such as sanitation, nutrition, health, forestry, agriculture or wildlife conservation to visit your community and to suggest ways of developing your chosen program,

If government extension workers are not available, then you may find appropriate ideas for programs in this manual. For suggestions about health and agriculture programs see Chapters 3 and 4, and Appendix C. If your community center is working with the local school, or is in fact the adult education school, the school conservation program in Chapter 2 can be used, or adapted for use in either situation.

If you feel that the community is not aware enough of the value of wildlife to the region, Chapter 1 and Appendix A & F may give you ideas on how to introduce ideas related to this subject. Perhaps the community is unaware of the variety of its plant or animal life, or the rareness of some of these living things. Your community center could undertake an identification or protection program (Appendix G) which would involve community members,

Cooperative programs

If there are other public service centers in your community, the community center might plan and coordinate programs which are environmentally related. You might bring the nutritional health worker and the agricultural extension worker together on a program to develop a community garden or a small animal raising project. You might bring the sanitation worker and the health worker together to provide water purification education, or to develop a latrine-building program. You could plan a program of cooperation between the school and any of the following:

- forestry worker
- wildlife ranger
- health worker
- agricultural extension agent
- sanitation worker
- home economics extension worker

Suggest that the school children develop exhibits (see Appendix A and Chapter 2) based on their studies and investigations, and provide display space for them in the community center. Use the community center for a conservation science fair which will be a school project.

Leadership training

An important aspect of any community effort which you undertake, either alone, or in cooperation with an extension worker or other public service center, is the development of local leadership among men, women, and young people, since leadership is necessary for effective community action. You should select people to work with you in planning and developing your programs. who have concern for their community and its members, and who have hope and interest in their future. These people should then be given the responsibility to carry out a part or all of a program, with guidance and direction available when necessary from you or the specialists.

The community environment

Your community center can start a project to make the community a more attractive environment. Plants and flowers can be grown and placed around the center building, or elsewhere in the community as a demonstration project. Members of the community can be encouraged to grow similar plants or flowers for their homes. Try to obtain native plant or flower seeds from a government agriculture service or collect them from wild plants and flowers.

Suggestions in Appendix C may help you to make or improve an existing garden or park where space is available. You might provide space in a community garden for adult games, as well as climbing materials for children such as rocks or logs. A feature such as a bird bath (Appendix F) might also be considered to add interest to a garden space.

- A community tree-planting project could be planned if you can get seedling tree donations and instructions for care from the government agricultural agent.

- You can encourage the community to look at the beauty of its environment by providing for a rest stop in an attractive place (Appendix E).

- You might propose a community or school project to provide a number of litter cans to be placed around the community. Empty oil or kerosene cans can be cleaned, painted, decorated, or lettered with a message Part of the project must be the continued collection of litter from the cans, and its dumping in a planned disposal place.

Projects which visibly improve the quality of your community's environment will encourage those same qualities which are necessary for conservation action at any level: awareness, understanding, respect and responsibility.

Community tree-planting project

Source materials - Chapter 5

Audio-visual aids for cooperative education & training
(also available in French & Spanish)
FAO Agricultural Development Paper #86
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations available from FAO agents world-wide; or Distribution & Sales Section FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy

Better health through community effort
(also available in Spanish)
World Neighbors
Volume 8 - number 1E
5116 North Portland Ave.
Oklahoma City, Okla. 75112, USA

Guide for extension training
(also available in French & Spanish)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations available from FAO agents world-wide; or Distribution & Sales Section, FAO, Via delle Terme de Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy

Mejor salud mediante esfuerzo comunal
(also available in English)
Vecinos Mundiales
Volumen 8- numero 15
5116 North Portland Ave.
Oklahoma City, Okla. 73112, USA

Neighbors around the world work to improve home & community
(also available in Spanish)
World Neighbors
Volume 8 - number 4E
5116 North Portland Ave.
Oklahoma City, Okla. 73112, USA

Podemos proveer mas aqua
(also available in English)
Vecinos Mundiales
Volumen 5 - numero 15
5116 North Portland Ave.
Oklahoma City, Okla 73112, USA