Alliance for International Reforestation
:: AIR’s Main Activities: Educational Activities
Educating the community groups about the importance of conserving the environment and the impact deforestation has on the soil, the ecology, water sources, and air quality is an integral part of AIR’s projects. These educational programs have had a significant impact on individual attitudes and behavior in terms of protecting their lands.
Working under an agreement with the Guatemalan Ministry of Education, AIR and an agency called “Bosques Para La Paz,” (“Forests for the Peace”) produced a curriculum in forestry education for high school students, and another curriculum for elementary school children that has been used for over 10 years in Guatemalan rural schools. AIR technicians also trained hundreds of rural school teachers in the basics of deforestation, climate change, and sustainable farming.
In every community where AIR technicians work, they link up with the local schools to host regular “field days” for the environment, plant trees around the schools, and teach special classes. One year, AIR sponsored a song-writing contest among the schools, for songs that best express love and concern for the environment. Then, AIR produced a cassette recording of the best songs.
In rural Guatemala, only a small minority of teenagers are able to finish high school, because a small tuition and school supplies are required after the age of 12 that poor families simply cannot afford. In an exciting program, AIR is now providing high school scholarships for six boys and six girls. The students agree to study hard, and to work in the tree nursery and plant trees around the community and their schools. The students are sponsored by individuals in the US who receive letters and photos from their young people. The cost is only $450 a year (for the tuition, all school supplies, bus transportation and a graduation party) for a program that provides hope for a young person in extreme poverty. Contact AIR at email@example.com if you are interested in becoming such a sponsor.