About Madrean Education
The Madrean Education program brings knowledge of the Madrean Discovery Expeditions and the natural history of Sonora directly to the local community. By educating local students and involving communities in expeditions and conservation efforts, the fragile Sky Island ecosystems have a greater chance to survive and thrive.
The region around the Sky Island mountain ranges is not densely populated, with only a few moderate-sized towns and many small towns along the rivers. Most residents in the smaller towns have never been in the Sky Islands and have little knowledge of the animals, plants, vegetation, and ecology. There are elementary and junior high schools (telesecundarias) in most towns, with a few high schools in the larger towns.
The Importance of Community
Mining, ranching, poor fire and resource management, a proposed border wall, and other human activities pose grave threats to these delicate ecosystems. The only way to ensure a lasting connection with these pockets of biodiversity is though communication with community leaders, landowners, citizen scientists, and perhaps most important, students.
The Sky Island Environmental Education Experience
Madrean education encourages older students to get involved with the scientists on vital expeditions, and works with younger students to inspire students to understand and engage in their surrounding ecosystem. Environmental education specialists bring hands-on learning and experiences to rural middle and high schools. These visits include a biodiversity presentation, natural history of Sonora booklets, hummingbird feeders, seeds for butterfly gardens, and bird field guides. Each classroom bubbled with excitement, as this was the first time that any of the schools had environmental education presentations from visitors. By teaching students about the plants and animals in their own backyard, the next generation of environmental leaders in Sonora is beginning to blossom!