Ninety-four percent of lemur species are currently threatened with extinction and more than seventeen species of giant lemur are already extinct. In order to prevent the extinction of Madagascar’s remaining lemurs, Centre ValBio (CVB) research station, located just outside of Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar, began conservation programs in the 1990s. CVB believes in the ‘One Health’ approach to understanding the relationship between humans and the environment, and one of their core principles is that effective conservation is science based. CVB’s approach is based around an integrated program to improve the health, education, and economies of communities surrounding the forests of Ranomafana. This approach combines active learning, skill building, career development, and community engagement to promote conservation. CVB’s environmental education programs (discussed herein) began with after-school classes in two villages. The programs have since expanded to include twenty remote primary schools. The all-Malagasy team consists of long-term conservation educators as well as young intern teachers, who together address the issues of valuing lemurs and the forests that they require to survive. In this paper, we will describe three of CVB’s environmental education programs and evaluate their impact. We show that these programs (1) are popular, (2) produce concrete outputs that can change rural villages, and (3) improve local knowledge on the importance of biodiversity and sustainable development.
Ranomafana, environmental education, Madagascar, schools, rural villages, biodiversity, conservation