Good morning everyone! I imagine that you are all in the throes of the end of the academic year and your thoughts may not be directed toward the Andes just yet, however we do want to share an updated course itinerary and program summary with you. We have been hard at work reviewing and revising the agenda and are very pleased with the outcomes.
Please review the itinerary and program summary here so that you can begin to prepare yourselves for what will be an intense, challenging, illuminating and, we expect and hope, transformative experience and opportunity to take your work as educators to new heights (in this case, literally, as we will top 14,000 feet above sea level together!). When we meet in person we will have a final, detailed itinerary and program to share with you, but the attached version should be enough to let you know what you have gotten yourselves into.
A few important things to keep in mind:
- Group members are arriving in Cochabamba on different days and at different times. We will be arranging transport for you to El Poncho, where our odyssey begins, however at the present time we do not have flight arrival information for everyone. Please be sure to share your flight information with the home office in CO as soon as possible.
- If you are arriving before July 1st, we also need to know where you will be staying in “Cocha” so that we can arrange transportation from your lodgings there.
- We will be doing some light to moderate hiking on three occasions so please be prepared for the elements. The hikes will take place in uneven surfaces (footpaths) so if you use trekking poles please consider bringing them with you. It is unlikely that we will have precipitation while together (famous last words!) however you will need protection from sun and wind and should plan accordingly.
- One participant has asked about gifts for homestay families. A couple of recommendations we can make are school supplies for families with children and vegetable and flower seeds in sealed packages, as most host families are farming families. We will be meeting with an ecological school in Cochabamba and they have a school gardening project and I am sure that seeds would be greatly appreciated by the garden manager. I have been collecting (packaged) seeds locally and know that they are highly valued.
- You may also consider bringing photos or postcards from home to share with your hosts so that they can have a look at where you are from and what it is like. Again, as many of your hosts are farmers, images of gardens, farm animals, schools and children and famers markets are of particular interest.
- We are coordinating at least three round-table discussions with educators during the course. Please be prepared to share with the Bolivian teachers what your particular teaching environment is like (again, images of classrooms, school gardens and projects related to climate change education and adaptation, such as solar panels, will be of great interest to the teachers we will be exchanging with during the encounters) and what challenges you face, as teachers and also as educational institutions.
- As you may know, all Dragon’s programs include ISPs or Independent Study Projects and the Bolivia Climate Change Educator program is no different. It is our hope that each of you will return home with at least one concrete lesson or project related to climate change that incorporates one or more of the experiences we will have together and that you will implement in your classrooms and/or at your school. There is no need to decide what that lesson or project will be just yet, however it is important, as you prepare to journey south, that you start contemplating the possibilities.
That is all for now, I hope your end-of-year phase is going well! Stephen