Environmental Education through Children’s Coloring Books – Keila Gutiérrez

RattleSnakePic.jpegIn the face of a changing planet that desperately needs the public to be informed and involved with environmental issues, we live in a time when our collective attitude towards nature might be best described as disconnect. A lot of potential lies with education to cultivate emotional and intellectual engagement with nature, but the conventional education system largely fails to meet this challenge. It is often up to community organizations in environmental education, and to us as individuals, to go out of our way to be- come more educated about the environment and to develop feelings of responsibility and empowerment to effect positive change towards it. However, this issue quickly be- comes one of environmental and social justice, as we must consider who has access to the privilege of alternative education. I created a short coloring book for children about local species and basic ecology in the hope that it can serve as an educational material that has the power to both inform and engage the interest of those who read it. I’d like to carry this project forward by partnering with community organizations that may be able to utilize this book in environmental education curricula as wellLizardPic.jpg as distribute the book free of charge or at low cost at local events and markets, especially those with a focus on local conservation. Additionally, I hope this project can help guide future projects like it; I plan to make more books in the same style focusing on different subject matter with- in ecology and conservation and aimed at different age groups. As a biology student with a deep passion for ecology and concern for the environment, I believe fostering understanding of the natural world directly around us— the local ecosystem and the species and processes within it—is one crucial component towards creating a more educated and conscious population, and in children particularly, a powerful step towards sparking interest in the environment and in the natural sciences which is the foundation of environmental consciousness throughout life.”

Check out Keila’s full report and her coloring book.