Peter Berg and Elise Braaten collaborated on a neighborhood oriented educational curriculum that will be launched June 2004 by Planet Drum Foundation in Bahia de Caraquez.
To develop and carry out a bioregional education program for children and adults. It is oriented toward accomplishing ongoing projects that feature lessons, workshops and exercises based upon relationships between specific bioregional features and human economic, social and cultural activities. The geographic area for these projects will generally be the southern side of Río Chone estuary in Bahía de Caraquez/Canton Sucre.
The following one-year curriculum is divided into 3-month segments, each having an emphasis on particular bioregional themes and projects. The first-year project goals are to a) initiate revegetation in neighborhoods and b) create bioregional maps and guides. They will be accompanied throughout the year by learning along thematic lines.
First 3 Months
- Native species – locate and identify, obtain seeds through gathering and other sources, plant seeds.
- Watershed—identify and map.
- Arts and Handicrafts – survey existing examples; create objects such as recycled containers as planters for native seeds to be used in revegetation.
- Mapping activity – Discovering Your Life-Place workbook for model.
Second 3 months
- Restoration – seedling cultivation, most desirably in small neighborhood greenhouses.
- Soil – geology, soil testing, erosion, and compost cycle.
- Food – native food availability and preparation, growing seedlings for food.
- Continue native species, watershed, arts and handicrafts, and bioregional mapping activities.
Third 3 months
- Climate – wet/dry seasonal characteristics, rooftop rain collection, cycle of rain, El Nino (relate all to growth and development of plants).
- Energy – describe and contrast renewable and nonrenewable, relate to climate, build model solar rooftop water heater.
- Continue activities as in above (4).
Fourth 3 months
- Indigenous Culture – research archeological sources and explore sites, cultural identity awareness (oral histories etc.), collaborate with museum.
- Literature – existing sources, bioregional writing contest (essay, poem), bibliography, English-Spanish translation of readings, group writing activity.
- Continue previous activities.
The distinctions between child and adult project/learning groups will be made according to subject areas and activities as necessary. Many of these can overlap and will be carried out inter-generationally whenever possible. When separations between children and adults are made the two groups will have simultaneous direction.
There will be weekly program periods of two hours each for a) projects in the afternoon and b) lessons in the evening.
It is envisioned that the first-year program be implemented in four neighborhoods representing different conditions in Canton Sucre. These are Maria Auxiladora in Bahia de Caraquez, Jorge Lomas and Mangles Dos Mil in Leonidas Plaza, and a community in the outlying region such as Las Caras or in the neighboring watershed of San Clemente-San Jacinto.