© Proyecto Tití
For conservation education efforts to be effective in Colombia, support and
interest must be forthcoming from the local population. To increase public awareness and
create an interest in our program we developed several community programs for
the local villages.
CARTITILLA is a semester-long conservation education program provided in partnership with the local rural community schools for students in 7th to 9th grades. The CARTITILLA program creates awareness about the challenges facing cotton-top tamarins and teaches students how they can help to protect cotton-top tamarins. Through story telling, games, arts and crafts, and role playing, the CARTITILLA program builds a connection between students and nature that leads to the development of life-long conservation values. Each student has the opportunity to bring the lessons of the CARTITILLA program to life by a visit to the forest to meet one of our long-term study groups of cotton-top tamarins. Meeting these animals builds an emotional connection to the students and gives them a reason to get involved in helping to protect them.
Since 2010 more than 2,500 students of four schools in six rural communities have participated in this program. At the end of the program students have shown to have a significant increase in conservation knowledge and that after the program they understand the challenges facing cotton-top tamarins and their forest habitat as well as potential solutions to support their long-term conservation.
Through the CARTITILLA program, Proyecto Titi identifies students who show a strong interest and motivation for environmental issues, and invites them to participate in our TITÍ CLUB, in which students learn with more detail about the different ways that they can help protect the tamarin and its forest, and design and carryout short-term projects that allow them to implement some of these strategies at home and at school. The TITÍ CLUB is organized into 13 sessions, which take place throughout an academic semester. To date, about 160 students from the communities near the forest have participated in this program.
Through the CARTITILLA program, we identify students who show a strong interest and motivation to remain involved in conservation activities and we invite them to participate in Proyecto Titi’s Titi Lideres conservation leadership program. The Titi Lideres program focuses on providing students with the skills to identify environmental challenges in their communities related to the conservation of cotton-top tamarins and their forest habitat. Then, we guide them through designing and implementing solutions to these challenges. During a 10-month period, students learn how to design a proposal with a timeline and budget, how to raise funds so that they can implement their project, how to plan and schedule their activities and manage their time, and they learn how to evaluate their performance.
It its first year, our education team worked with 24 students in three rural communities. At the end of the program students have engaged and educated their community on their conservation projects and many go on to lead new initiatives in their community on their own.
TITÍ KIDS is an educational program for elementary students in grades 3-5 that live in rural communities near the forest. Through 4 weekly sessions, students learn through games, cartoons and puppets, the differences between domestic animals and wildlife, and the importance of keeping native wildlife in the wild. As part of their graduation from the program, students commit to not keeping wildlife as pets in their homes and to sharing their learnings with their families. Pre- and post-program assessments of TITÍ KIDS illustrate a significant increase in the students’ abilities to recognize and identify wildlife and domestic animals.