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 Importance of Educating Communities
The region around the Madrean Sky Island mountain ranges is not densely populated, with only a few small towns located along the river valleys below the Sky Islands. Most residents in the smaller towns have never been to the Sky Islands and have little knowledge of the animals, plants, vegetation, and ecology. We work to spread awareness about these areas by visiting the students closest to them. Educating the next generation about the importance of biological diversity is key in developing the community’s desire to protect the region they live in.
MDE Scholarship Program
Since 2017, the Madrean Discovery Expeditions has provided scholarships to Mexican college students who study and write about the Sky Islands for their undergraduate thesis. So far, we’ve awarded 15 scholarships to students attending the Universidad de Sonora in Hermosillo, Universidad de la Sierra in Moctezuma, and the Instituto Tecnologico Superior de Cananea in Cananea.
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!