“The task of the modern educator,” wrote English novelist C. S. Lewis, “is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” Lewis likely wasn’t talking about saving forests
, but his message about teachers nurturing young minds is integral to successful conservation efforts.
Cultivating conservation allies in the teaching community was the strategy driving a recent biodiversity conservation workshop in Ghana that focused on the bushmeat trade and its impacts. Thirty-eight instructors from teacher training colleges nationwide attended the workshop, which was hosted by CI and Ghana’s education and environment agencies.
Ghana’s biodiversity is under enormous pressure. Part of the Guinean Forests of West Africa
Hotspot, more than 80 percent of Ghana’s original forest has been lost, and many species
, including 16 mammals, are listed as threatened. The bushmeat trade, desertification, mining, bushfires, and habitat loss caused by deforestation are the primary threats
The workshop was the second phase of a national antibushmeat campaign, launched in August 2002, to change attitudes and increase awareness of biodiversity conservation issues in Ghana. The first phase focused primarily on traditional culture, health threats, and environmental impacts, and targeted urban audiences in Accra and Ku-masi, Ghana’s largest cities. The second phase is reaching out to the youth audience.
“Teacher training colleges now have the knowledge and tools to help change the way Ghanaians value wildlife,” says CI-Ghana Director Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei. “These instructors reach more teachers, who then reach students, multiplying messages to protect Ghana’s biodiversity.”
IN-DEPTH: Read a first-person account of a visit to a Bushmeat market.