Working with students from all over the USA for years, we know what level of detachment from nature our world is going through. It is amazing to us that we can hear some students tell us hundreds of different brand names of products in their local mall but they might not even be able to name one native specie of plant or tree from their hometown.
Another example might be when a student becomes afraid of a gecko in their room and smashes it's brains out with their shoe thinking they just saved the planet but not realizing that the geckos include in their diet cockroaches, mosquitos, and termites. The point is kids these days don't grasp the idea that we are not separate from nature and it is in protecting nature that we protect ourselves. Would you rather sleep with mosquitos & cockroaches or have a cool looking gecko hanging out on the roof protecting you while you sleep?
The term Ecoliteracy is being used as an awareness to this Nature Deficit Disorder to help make kids aware of the importance of not being so detached from the very source that gives them life. Ecoliteracy is the vision of seeing educators across the world take the steps in making the schools of the world the focal point for teaching about sustainability and the connection between all humans and the natural world. The Center for Ecoliteracy has been working for two decades in 400 different communities around the USA. This is great progress but a number that needs to grow to meet the environmental crisis, energy crisis, and growing population which all conclude to a major crisis for our food source. We believe that the education to avoid these problems in the future must begin in the schools as early as possible.
With many kids that travel to visit Costa Rica from the city life or areas that are a bit removed from natural settings we feel Costa Rica is the perfect setting for kids to come in contact with the natural surroundings and learn through the many symbiotic relationships that can be found in the tropical rainforest. The country has been called by some of the countries top educators and conservationist such as Louis Fournier and Mario Boza call Costa Rica a "deposit of genetic material" or an "endless fountain of educational and research material for all age levels".
All of this comes together making Costa Rica an excellent place to study the many different functions of an ecosystem and one of the very important topics is our food supply. Each eco-educational tour we allow our students to learn about the importance of their food supply and comparing it to natures.
The main topics of the Ecoliteracy Vision is as follows:
- Engage in the Natural World
- Understand how nature supports life
- Understand the consequences of how we feed ourselves
- Care about the places we live, the people, and the creatures in them