SON TRA PENINSULA–AN UNIQUE PLACE FOR NATURAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN DA NANG CITY
Within 3 years from 2013 to 2015, GreenViet has conducted successfully several education programs to raise awareness about Son Tra biodiversity, provide interesting activities for Da Nang community.
On March 9th, 2016, in the workshop “Raising the capacity of the local community to protect the environment with Sustainable Development Education program” organized by Da Nang Union of Science and Technology Associations (DANUSTA) in collaboration with Kyoto University, GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Centre (GreenViet) has a presentation with the theme of “Son Tra Peninsula – a unique place for nature education programs in Da Nang City”, in which clarify some unique points that make Son Tra become a special place for outreach programs and share some successful programs of GreenViet as a lesson learned for other education centers or schools.
Da Nang City is the third-largest city under the Central Government of Viet Nam with rich and diverse biodiversity resources. Especially, Son Tra peninsula has a nature reserve just about 10 kilometers from the city, which is a special gift for the city. Son Tra Peninsula not only helps the city in climate regulation but also provides an interesting place for conducting natural education programs. Moreover, Son Tra is also home of about 300 individuals of the Red-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus) which is called the queen of primates with 5 colors in their bodies.
With the mission of providing the knowledge of biodiversity value to the local community, when its establishment in 2012, the Education and Communication Department of GreenViet has collaborated with local partners to conduct education programs in Son Tra, including Son Tra District Education Office and Son Tra Management Board.
With the aim to encourage the local community join in saving Son Tra biodiversity by promoting Son Tra’s douc to become the icon of Da Nang city in biodiversity, since 2013, GreenViet has organized a campaign to “raise awareness of the local community about saving Son Tra doucs” with several activities. We have worked with 34 Ward People’s Committee and 50 stores, restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops to display nearly 200 posters in Vietnamese and English in order to introduce the Red-shanked douc population in Son Tra. An “I Love Son Tra Journey” was also initiative organized since 2013 in cooperation with Son Tra Management Board in order to create an opportunity for Da Nang Citizens to study about Son Tra biodiversity every Sunday afternoon and have reached nearly 1,000 people after three years. Nearly 2,000 students of 4 schools in Son Tra District also participated in a school assembly program in 2014 to join film show and outreach activities to learn about the Red-shanked doucs in Son Tra peninsula.
Especially, a raising awareness program called “Little Green Guards” was organized in two primaries and two secondary schools in Son Tra District in 2014, including 7 class-lessons and a field trip in Son Tra implemented in one school year. The students were introduced about Son Tra wildlife, including many species of birds, monkeys, carnivores, reptiles, etc. Moreover, a Christmas event with the theme of Son Tra doucs was also organized for all students, their parents, and teachers in order to instill their love for the nature.
With a three-year experiment of organizing nature education programs in Son Tra peninsula, GreenViet has reached its goal in introducing Son Tra biodiversity to local people and authorities by using the image of the ambassador Red-shanked douc. Examples, more than 500 people have participated in collecting trash on Son Tra mountain in the “Clean for Son Tra” program organized by GreenViet and Son Tra management board before Tet Holiday 2016. Especially, Da Nang City’s President, Mr. Huynh Duc Tho has used a picture of the Red-shanked douc to send his wishes to the city’s partners and stakeholders during Tet Holiday 2016 (the monkey year), more than 55,000 lucky bags with the Son Tra douc’s image have been delivered to more than 3,000 officials and citizens as well.
With those remarkable results from nature education programs in Son Tra peninsula, it could be seen that Son Tra peninsula is truly an appropriate place for local schools or education centers to organize nature education programs. However, there will be challenges, including the overlapping and lax management mechanism in Son Tra Nature Reserve that cause a bad impact on biodiversity resources. Moreover, local authorities have not yet paid attention enough in nature education topics. In the near future, a Nature Education Centre for Da Nang city is very necessary in order to create opportunities for local people to study their natural resources, as well as encourage people to participate in saving natural resources for sustainable development of Da Nang City.