Across the globe humankind is losing respect for nature. With each passing generation, children are spending less and less time outdoors, they are becoming less and less physically active, and their sense of curiosity for learning and interacting with nature is vanishing. Life for the average child is now experienced through a screen. And the situation in Chile is no different.
Conservation International has ranked the Valdivian forest in the top 35 global biodiversity hotspots, where greater than 90% of the flora and 70% of the fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The Valdivian forest is the only temperate rainforest in South America, and is home to two of the world’s oldest living trees, the alerce and the olivillo. Furthermore, the forest is home to an incredible range of wildlife, including the world’s smallest deer (‘pudu’), one of the world’s largest woodpeckers, a small marsupial considered to be a living fossil (`mountain monkey´), the threatened Chilean deer (‘huemul’), the small feline ‘kodkod’, at least 58 bird species and several rare carnivores such as the southern river otter. For decades, the Valdivian forest has been under ever-increasing threat from logging the native forest and planting non-native eucalyptus and pine. Currently, only 40% of the original forest remains.
This is one of the richest ecosystems in the world, yet Valdivian children – whose only contact with nature is trough their science classes – have little to no knowledge about their unique local flora and fauna.
Our Enviromental Education
Our program aims to develop children’s empathy towards animals, and awaken their awe of and respect for nature through innovative educational activities and materials that allow them to experience, explore and understand nature and fauna first-hand. Our goal is for children to become life-long stewards of the earth and its resources.
Nature Discovery Center for Kids
The GAAP’s Discovery Center is a learning space located within the Valdivian temperate rain forest where children can discover, appreciate and learn to protect this incredibly rich and endangered ecosystem.
At the center, a team of collaborators (anthropologists, biologists, artists and educators) elaborate different activities that inspire the children to learn about nature by directly interacting with and playing in it, without the interference of technology and computer screens. Children are encouraged to touch, smell, taste and hear what the forest has to offer any giving day.