Top Nav

Archive | Ranomafana

Protecting Life through Active Youth (PLAY Madagascar)

PLAY logo
PLAY harnesses the power of youth through innovative education projects in southeast Madagascar.

Supporting lemur conservation by engaging children in biodiversity protection

PLAY MadagascarPLAY (Protecting Life through Active Youth) is a new inclusive education project, working across disciplines to include communities in protecting the shared future for the children and lemurs. PLAY currently functions as an education outreach program under the auspices of the ICTE & Centre ValBio, and aims to increase the number of children who have access to their biodiversity and who can participate in creative opportunities to help define sustainable communities.

They undertake their approach through: 1) material design, 2) children’s networks, and 3) site-based developments. The organization is always looking for new ideas and volunteers; be sure to contact them for more information!

Partnering with local communities

PLAYPLAY is about building sustainable relationships with communities and conservation groups around the eastern rainforests of the Ranomafana National Park. Programs are made sustainable through the effective collaboration with regional site partners and looking forward, the organization hopes its programs will flourish over time and will support new and innovative community-based projects. Annual themes, driven by contextual priorities, will be used to support conservation sites and communities with new frameworks for each year; eventually, programs will be managed almost completely by local communities.

Conservation clubs and community gardens

PLAYLooking forward, PLAY plans to help increase the capacity for communities to manage their own conservation programs using network clubs and teacher-training programs, seasonal workshops, radio and newsletters. In addition – and with the help of Centre ValBio’s existing development resources in 130 communities – PLAY will be reviving a children’s gardens program, as a central base for conservation clubs. These gardens will also be an inspirational hub for additional creative outreach activities.

Exchanging ideas

PLAY Invitation illustrationTo help keep programs innovative and effective, teachers, children, and youth mentors will be brought together regularly, so that their community-based programs can continue to grow through reflection and exchanging ideas with other groups in the region. During these meetings, participants will also have the opportunity to learn about biodiversity in a hands-on way.

Biodiversity education

This spring, an artistic team in Madagascar is working on the first set of materials that will used to help introduce children to Madagascar’s natural wonders. This initiative was developed as a result of mentorship from Patricia Wright and Alison Jolly and informed by seven years of fieldwork in the area. In 2014, PLAY began to develop their creative curriculum design through site surveys, prototyping material ideas, and putting together a project team.

PLAY Ranomafana Childrens Programs Poster PLAY Map Mada sketch_19_j

Continue Reading

Centre ValBio & the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments

ICTE and Centre ValBio focus the world’s attention on Madagascar’s lemur crisis through targeted research, conservation, and capacity building.

Supporting lemur conservation by promoting world-class research, encouraging environmental conservation, and building local capacity

Centre Valbio Ewing People Outside (1)

The Centre ValBio – a cutting-edge research station in Madagascar.

The Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE) was established by Dr. Patricia Wright in 1991 to encourage and promote scientific research, training and conservation in the tropics. ICTE – together with Stony Brook University – maintain a state-of-the-art research station, Centre ValBio, adjacent to Ranomafana National Park in eastern Madagascar. This research station hosts hundreds of researchers, students, and eco-tourists each year; it is truly the only facility of its kind in the country.

Centre ValBio (CVB) – founded in 2003 – helps both indigenous people and the international community better understand the value of conservation in Madagascar and around the world.

CVB’s mission has three main objectives:

  1. To promote world-class research in one of the world’s most biologically diverse and unique ecosystems;
  2. To encourage environmental conservation by developing ecologically sustainable economic development programs with local villages; and
  3. To provide the local villagers with the knowledge and tools to improve their quality of life through projects focused on sanitation, diet, and education, and ultimately reduce poverty in the area.

What lemur species do ICTE and the Centre Valbio protect?

Centre valbio wildlife

Wildlife in the Ranomafana National Park.

The work of ICTE/Centre Valbio places particular emphasis on the region surrounding the Ranomafana National Park, in eastern Madagascar. This park is host to several lemur species, including:

  • Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus)
  • Eastern wooly lemur (Avahi laniger)
  • Golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
  • Milne-Edwards’ sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi)

It is important to note that long-term research programs are a big priority to ICTE, who trains scientists at all levels through field-based courses, collaborations, and academic exchanges. More than 400 scientific publications have directly resulted from work conducted in partnership with the Centre ValBio. In addition, the organization also conducts biodiversity research and ecological assessments of tropical ecosystems, and coordinates and catalogs the work of over 800 natural and social scientists!

Recent successes at CVB include the translocation of three Prolemur simus from a forest fragment to the national park, as well as the discovery of a thriving group in a nearby region!

Influencing environmental policy to help lemurs

The Ranomafana National Park – which protects 41,500 hectares of rainforest – was created with the help of Dr. Patricia Wright, the founder of ICTE and CVB. Since the creation of this park, the organization has continued to help bring attention to the plight of lemurs and biodiversity in Madagascar at the regional, national, and international level.

Partnering with local communities

Centre Valbio conservation programs

Centre ValBio’s conservation programs have also included reforestation and education initiatives.

One of the central missions of ICTE/CVB has been collaboration and partnerships with the local Malagasy community. CVB employs over 80 local Malagasy as guides and staff for the research station, and has opened up opportunities for work in the park and surrounding areas. In addition to providing sustainable employment, CVB organizes multiple outreach programs in the fields of education, the arts, sustainable agriculture, and reforestation.

Conservation outreach

Centre ValBio leads outreach and public awareness programs that highlight the unique biodiversity of Madagascar; most of this works is achieved through 15 conservation clubs spread across 22 villages that contain almost 500 members. They also use audiovisual and hands-on demonstrations to teach about biodiversity and reforestation in 19 local schools. Most recently, Centre ValBio and ICTE support a range of education initiatives in the Ranomafana region through the PLAY project.

Centre ValBio donates food to local community

Centre ValBio donates food to local community thanks to the help of an emergency fund.

Reforestation program

The Centre ValBio undertakes educational outreach aimed at teaching the value of trees, not just for animals, but for clean water and erosion control as well. Their reforestation initiatives have also targeted schools through their “from schools to the communities programs”, which has worked with 22 villages and 15 clubs on reforestation initiatives.

Health and hygiene

CVB works to improve the local communities’ nutritional conditions through education, implementation of infrastructure, and follow-up on improved sanitary practices. For example, CVB provides seeds and training for vegetable gardens to improve nutritional conditions in impoverished rural communities.

Continue Reading