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COM.UNI.D.A.D .: an environmental awareness program with wide incidence

In 2014, Asociación Ambiente Sur joined the program COM.UNI.D.A.D. (Understanding Unity to the Environmental Dynamics in Diversity) an extensive work of environmental education and awareness, carried forward from its inception through various projects aimed at the various educational levels of the province, as well as non-formal education open to all community. The program, which includes different lines of work, was declared of Educational Interest by the Provincial Council of Education by Resolution No. 1888/14 and had successful application in gardens and provincial schools since its inception.

Ambiente Sur understands citizen participation as essential to ensure achievements in conservation matters, as well as recognizes environmental education as an indispensable tool for the development of friendly practices with the natural environment. For these reasons, it was sought through a broad awareness program such as COM.UNI.DAD, formalize, continue, strengthen and focus the educational actions carried out by the Association with school organizations at all levels of the formal education system from the city of Río Gallegos and other provincial towns.

In 2017, even with the restrictions imposed by the provincial crisis and the discontinuity of the school year, the environmental education and awareness-raising actions that aim to generate awareness and active involvement of the citizens with the local and regional environment were continued, from knowing , value and conserve the natural heritage of the city of Río Gallegos and the region, with an important incidence, which reached 9,120 people.

In the development of these activities different resources, techniques and didactic strategies are used, among them: educational talks in kindergartens, field trips to the Urban Coastal Reserve, puppets, pets, gigantographies and others, to which have been added the Interpretive tours in the Environmental Interpretation Center "Estuary of the River Gallegos" (CIERG), environmental plays and the development of didactic materials with local themes, designed specifically for students of different levels of the educational system.

The development of the program COM.UNI.D.A.D. it is based on four specific and complementary lines of work, each of which implements specific actions and activities according to the contents on environmental themes to be developed and the recipients of them. They are: Subprogram of knowledge and enhancement of the System of Urban Natural Reserves, includes school visits to CIERG, training activities and environmental education, design and preparation of teaching and interpretive materials; Subprogram Macá Tobiano and its environment, includes training for teachers, educational workshops in schools and presentation of an environmental play; Subprogram Pride Festivals, with the annual accomplishment of the Festival of Shorebirds and the Festival of Macá Tobiano, within the framework of the Month of the Macá Tobiano, and Subprogram Knowledge and Valorization of the Network of Urban Natural Reserves of Patagonia ( RRNUP), which refers to the work carried out by the Association with other localities in Argentine and Chilean Patagonia that have protected sites in their bounds.

Auspicious results

All of them were carried out with great success and response from the community. The guided tours for schools and gardens that take place in the Environmental Interpretation Center "Estuary of the River Gallegos", reached 1324 children and teachers through 67 talks, 494 children during the holiday camps and 75 in the winter break, This is one of the strengths of the work undertaken since the inauguration of the Interpretation Center in 2011 and its update in 2013, making it the first of its kind in Patagonia. The guided tours give visitors a general, didactic and attractive view of the richness and value of the Río Gallegos estuary, as well as a look at the threats that some of our actions represent for their integrity. Finally, it suggests desirable behaviors to adopt for its protection and conservation.

In addition, 18 workshops were held on the Macá Tobiano and its environment that were offered to 578 students and teachers from schools in Río Gallegos and Puerto Santa Cruz.

The environmental plays that were staged this year in the framework of the COM.UNI.D.A.D Program were two. Two functions of "Who has stolen my nest? Macanudo problema! ", Witnessed by 513 spectators and the fourth environmental theater play entirely produced by Ambiente Sur with local actors:" Odyssey for Surviving ", which in 6 performances summoned 1085 people, including children and adults.

Through the "Itinerant Reservation" program, through which it is linked to nearby schools with urban nature reserves, this year included 12 visits to schools, taking the message of awareness for our environment to 127 children and teachers.

As it is already a tradition, Ambiente Sur participates in the relevant events of the community. In 2017, 2044 people who came to know more about the protected sites of the city and the actions developed by the Association were attended and informed at the stand of the Association at the Provincial Book Fair.

The Pride Festivals proposed and organized by the NGO together with other organizations are always a strong attraction to develop awareness activities. In 2017, the Month of Macá Tobiano reached 1200 people, while the V Festival of Shorebirds had an incidence of 3100 people.

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