Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Cortez, Maria Beatriz [1], Ribeiro de Jesus, Nanci [2], Rech, Andre [2], Soltis, Douglas [3], Soltis, Pamela [4].

Fostering important conversations about biocultural diversity by engaging children in the ludic world of reading.

Conservation strategies that integrate traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of local communities and scientific efforts are crucial for protecting and fostering biocultural diversity. Exclusionary conservation practices, implemented in a top-down approach and focused exclusively on biodiversity conservation, has been recently rivaled by community-based conservation strategies. The latter approach bridges both environmental concerns and social needs, including local communities as active stakeholders in the process of conserving and protecting natural areas. For example, the creation of protected areas without consultation of local communities often results in restricted access and displacement of local peoples, which leads to social, economic, and environmental vulnerability. Moreover, this vulnerability frequently impedes local communities from contributing to the conservation of natural areas, ignoring not only their needs but also their extensive knowledge of the area and the importance of this knowledge for maintaining biodiversity. In the grasslands and rocky outcrops of the campos rupestres in Brazil, local communities pioneered commercial extraction of the sempre vivas, an herbaceous group of plants that have been traditionally commercialized as ornamentals due to their long-lasting and papery inflorescences. Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, harvesters have been forced to coexist with protected areas designated exclusively for environmental conservation and intentionally established to restrict harvesting, even though it can be done in a sustainable manner. Although this traditionally inherited activity is in decline, by the end of the 1990s, harvesting of sempre vivas still represented the main source of income for roughly 50% of the inhabitants of a few local communities around Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil. With these important ideas in mind, my collaborators and I wrote a children’s book, “Understanding nature: The strange case of the paper flowers, or the sempre vivas,” that promotes appreciation of TEK, the complex interaction between local communities and protected areas, and the importance of valuing biocultural diversity as a move towards a more inclusive conservation strategy. The book has been written in Portuguese and translated to English, and we developed a set of educational activities that accompany the book to further explore the important concepts woven in the story, such as community-based conservation, TEK, and biocultural diversity. Primarily, the target audience consists of children aged 6-14 years old as well as school educators, parents, and outreach professionals. Also, in collaboration with the Exhibits and Public Programs Department at the Florida Museum of Natural History, we are testing the relevance, impact, and adequacy of some of these activities. We hope that this book, alongside the activities, will foster important discussions that stimulate future leaders and decision-makers to comprehend conservation through a holistic and inclusive lens.

1 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History–Dickinson Hall, 1659 Museum Road, Room 357, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
2 - Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM), Campus JK, Road MGT 367 - Km 583, nº 5000., Diamantina, MG, 39100-000, Brazil
3 - University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History,, 3215 Hull Road, P. O. Box 2710, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
4 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, 32611.0, United States

biocultural diversity
campos rupestres
sempre vivas
community-based conservation.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: EO1004
Abstract ID:896
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2022, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved