Storytelling and environmental information: connecting schoolchildren and herpetofauna in Morocco.

TitleStorytelling and environmental information: connecting schoolchildren and herpetofauna in Morocco.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsFanini, L, Fahd S
JournalIntegrative zoology
Pages188 - 195

Northwestern Morocco is undergoing a sudden change in the level of infrastructure growth and pressure on the environment from increased tourism. The ongoing changes are raising questions about how the ecosystem will react, and the relevant drivers of these changes. The Oued Laou valley in north-west Morocco hosts high landscape, species and human cultural diversity. The Talassemtane National Park has been established to preserve the environment in this region; however, what information tools are available to children regarding this environment? The ecosystem is illustrated here using three components: herpetofauna (representing ecosystem components), problems related to water quantity and quality (representing interactions within ecosystem components) and Talassemtane National Park (representing a case of ecosystem management). A children's book was written on this topic, and when the book was delivered to pupils, a questionnaire was included, aimed at determining their sources of environmental information. The results identified major changes in the sources of information utilized by children in this part of Morocco, a clear role of schools in explaining ecosystem components, and an increasing role of TV in environmental information supply. The role of the family was found to be less important than TV or school. Another major source of pupils' environmental knowledge is personal observation and hands-on experience, both for rural and urban children. Children are willing to discover and understand complex systems, and researchers should be encouraged to supply children with correct and up-to-date information on environmental systems, focusing at first on the local environment, as a background for sustainable development. © 2009 ISZS, Blackwell Publishing and IOZ/CAS.


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