This Fall, the Lemur Conservation Network is partnering with Mongabay Kids for the World Lemur Festival!
Mongabay Kids is a new education site for kids aged 6 to 12. It launched in March 2021 to replace Mongabay’s rainforests for kids site, which dates to 2004 and has now been merged with Mongabay’s main rainforest information section. The new site inspires and educates kids about ecology, wildlife, and conservation.Learn about Mongabay Kids
Celebrating Biodiversity Days on Mongabay Kids
Since their launch in March, Mongabay Kids has worked with several conservation organizations to celebrate biodiversity days. In June, they worked with the Anne Innis Dagg Foundation and the Wild Nature Institute to celebrate the first World Giraffe Week. And, they celebrated National Moth Week in July, working with the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission.
About Our Collaboration for World Lemur Day
During the week leading up to World Lemur Day on October 29, Mongabay Kids will feature articles and activities all about lemurs and Madagascar! Kids will read about lemur species, scientific work in Madagascar, how they can help lemurs, and more.
And in late September, we are collaborating on a day focused on baobabs! LCN’s Madagascar Manager, Dr. Seheno Corduant-Andriantsaralaza, will share about her work with baobabs and what she learned about their seed dispersal in Madagascar.
Learn about Mongabay Kids
We talked with the site’s creators, biologists Megan Strauss and David Brown, to learn more about Mongabay Kids.
How long has Mongabay Kids been running, and how did it get started?
Mongabay has offered education content for kids for around 15 years. Originally, this content was focused on tropical rainforest ecology, information, and news. This content proved very popular and has moved to a new home to make way for the new site.
The new Mongabay Kids has a broader focus on nature and the environment. The site covers the whole world: all biomes, and topics ranging from animal behavior and ecology, to plant biology, to conservation and the environmental movement. We launched in March 2021, so we have been live for less than a year. We are really excited about growing the site and the content we can bring to kids around the world.
Do you have a background in science and wildlife conservation?
When I was four years old, I wanted to go to Africa to see giraffes and elephants. That desire never went away. Being a zoologist and studying giraffes in Africa was all I wanted to do when I grew up. It took a couple of decades, but I did make it happen!
Using population genetics, I helped discover that there are multiple giraffe species across Africa instead of just one species as people assumed.
When my nieces and nephews started getting interested in animals, I realized that all of the cool conservation science in the world was ultimately not going to work unless kids knew and loved the natural world. I set out to go beyond being a scientist to become a nature writer and environmental educator.
I have a background in ecology and animal behavior research. Most recently, I did PhD research on the population ecology of giraffes in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. I’ve always been passionate about conservation.
After my kids were born I became involved in environmental education with David and our colleagues at the Wild Nature Institute in Tanzania. I love art and science and being outdoors. So, combining all my interests and past experiences for Mongabay Kids is tremendous fun!
Do you have a favorite article or feature on Mongabay Kids that our readers should check out?
I like Sofia Ceiba’s interviews with her fellow plants on her talk show Talking to Plants. Plants are often overlooked, and this feature is a fun way to introduce people to the wonders of plants.
I also love Talking to Plants! David and I have a lot of fun working on that feature together. He does the writing, and I do the illustrations.
Another favorite feature is Wild News, where we report on the latest Mongabay news articles, but written for kids. As a news nerd, I would have loved this feature as a kid.
What is your favorite lemur species?
I really love Coquerel’s sifakas. When I first saw them at the Los Angeles Zoo, I instantly fell in love with them. I love watching them leap between trees and relax while hanging upside down. They are the prettiest primate species, and their gentle yet bouncy nature is even more attractive.
I’m partial to the aye-aye! I studied primatology at university, and I was instantly taken with this unusual-looking animal and the fascinating way it uses its long finger to locate and fish out its invertebrate prey from trees.
What is your favorite animal that is NOT a lemur?
I have to give that title to the giraffes and elephants in Africa across the Mozambique Channel from their lemur neighbors in Madagascar. But, I do have a lot of admiration for lemurs too.
I also am fascinated by the lemurs’ neighbors, the tenrecs. They underwent a spectacular adaptive radiation in Madagascar. Now, there are tenrecs that have the lifestyles of mice, hedgehogs, otters, and moles!
I have many favorites! I have a soft spot for large African savanna species (giraffes, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos), which comes from my childhood travels around the protected areas of southern Africa. But if I could be any animal, I would be an otter! I love their playful nature and the idea of spending so much time in the water.