WDC is an international leader in educating and exciting people of all ages about whales and dolphins, and this summer we were the proud recipients of the ASCOBANS Outreach and Education Award. With offices in five different countries and a visitor centre in Scotland, we reach a wide audience and carry out many different education initiatives. This is the 4th blog in our Education Blog Series ‘Education with a Porpoise!’ – read on to learn more from Cecilia at WDC’s Latin American office!
The challenge in converting all of our activities into educational opportunities
I started to work at WDC in 2005, and as part of my job for the Latin America office, I am responsible for education. As a member of the educational team made up of the rest of the WDC offices, I celebrate the fact that this blog series was created so that more people can become familiar with the work that is done at the educational level.
Particularly in our case, conscious of the extensive region that we work with and the limited resources that we rely on, our principal objective is to convert any activity in which we are involved into an educational opportunity. Be it media campaigns, our research projects , a coastal marathon, a beach clean up, or a festival in a museum, we try to bring educational activities to the communities we work with, specifically to their schools and different educational institutions (universities, teaching centers, museums, etc.). In some cases, like our research work with Franciscana in Delfines del Río Negro Project , our research projects have a strong educational component involving conservation strategies for a highly threatened species.
In others, like in the Southern Right Whale Project , school and community talks are included as a way of making the locals part of a venture that transcends the scientific community and may become a new source of local growth and opportunities.
It is clear for me that each audience presents their own challenges and opportunities, but all are valuable to our objectives. I believe that the more people that we involve and inform, the stronger and clearer our message will be heard.
In an effort to shrink the distance of our region (Latin America), we try to provide information, educational materials, and advice to teachers and parents through our Educational Resources section on our website. In our Kids Zone section, we aim to motivate and involve children directly through activities and media campaigns.
Day after day I am surprised by the initiative and push of children and adolescents, by the commitment they make to solve the complex realities that whales, dolphins, and porpoises face. Additionally, we also have the opportunity to work with adults through workshops in Central America on topics like strandings or responsible whale watching in Costa Rica, Panamá, and Honduras – to name a few which I have participated in- where, besides the difficulties that many of these communities face, their energy and willingness often surprises us.
For our team, getting people involved at any level is a worthwhile way to know, understand and value the world in which whales, dolphins and porpoises live, which definitively, is our world too. So please, don´t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in our educational activities.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contacts us and gets involved with our education initiatives, to all of the schools and their teachers, to parents, and especially to the students who get involved and help us to try to create a better world for whales, dolphins and porpoises.