| Teaching conservation in developing nations |
|Chapter 4: Conservation education in an agricultural extension center|
Conservation education began, historically, as soil conservation to improve agricultural techniques and crops. Although now, as we know, conservation deals with all things in our environment, the conservation of soil is more essential than ever to produce healthy, nutritious crops for a rapidly growing world population, and to produce timber and other cash crops for economic benefits.
A government agricultural service is established, often together with a forestry service, to identify, analyze and solve the problems of agricultural development of a region. Besides dealing with the raising of livestock, many of these problems deal with identifying the chemical properties of the soil such as its pH factor (is the soil acid, neutral or alkaline) and the nutrients the soil has or lacks, the kinds of crops best suited for the soil and climate, and how to irrigate, grow, store and market crops.
If a community does not have an agricultural center, conservation education concepts can be brought to the community by visiting agricultural extension workers. Either alone or in cooperation with the school or the health center (or visiting health worker), the agricultural worker can develop a program to improve the community's diet and its food-producing environment. (See also Chapters 2,3 and 5).