The project “Restoration of the Mangrove Landscape; An Opportunity for Social Development at the Ramsar site, Alvarado Lagoon System, Veracruz”, implemented by Pronatura Veracruz A.C with financing granted by the German Government’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), through the International Climate Initiative (IKI), has supported the restoration of more than 200 hectares of mangrove forests. The effectiveness of mangrove recovery requires transforming society’s relationship with the mangroves, as well as the goods and services they provide us. Environmental education and awareness have a central role in this process. Children and youth in local communities are key agents in adapting to climate change and in building resilient socio-ecosystems.
In Goal 13 of the 2030 Agenda, Climate Action, the importance of education, awareness, and the human capacity for adaptation and mitigation to climate change is denoted. These principles are fundamental to ensure compliance with the goals of ecological restoration of mangroves.
Thus, our project works with rural schools near areas of ecological restoration and harnessing of sustainable materials. This has made it possible to integrate the participation of young people from the ejido (communal land) that owns the mangrove swamp, who will play a key role in future decision-making regarding the ecosystem. To date, more than 93 young people have participated, alongside the 11 teachers and parents who supported the activities.
Education and awareness-raising come with the challenge of adapting methods and designing innovative materials that can be appropriated by the communities. An example of these materials is Pro-Manglar, a board game designed to encourage reflection on the importance of mangroves, the threats presented to them, and actions to preserve them.
The characters in Pro-Manglar are emblematic fauna species for the local culture and economy, such as the swamp crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) or the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus). Likewise, the game’s graphics refer to the motifs and patterns used throughout generations by the communities of the Alvarado Lagoon System in their textiles and pottery. This allows a sense of identity to be formed around the conservation and restoration of mangrove forests.
Pro-Manglar is downloadable for free at http://www.mundomanglar.com