After an email from Antje Rendigs of the Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Alison Jolly and I had the idea to get together some small UK-based environmental education efforts at  the University of Sussex. It quickly began attracting some of the major players in Madagascar, including UNICEF, Wildlife Conservation Society, among many others, including Primate Conservation MSc leaders at Oxford Brooks, Blue Ventures, McCrae Conservation and Education Fund. I also gave a talk on behalf of the Conservation, Education & Outreach team from CentreValBio at Ranomafana National Park.

It was really a wonderful day. The visiting speakers were delightful and diverse, and  both the MA students and the participants seemed to really enjoy it and learn a lot. Alison’s morning lecture got the day off and running beautifully, weaving us through Madagascar’s history and some hope for the future. The lunch and IT arrangements, and spaces were flawless- thanks to MA program leader Ricardo Sabates. And Dr. Mairead Dunne, Director for the Centre for International Education gave a stunning introduction. The following day, participants set out the the Linklater Pavilion, to see an inspiring example of environmental education emerging out of the community.

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The little idea sparked a major effort hosted by the MA program in International Education and Development. Fellow students joined in for the full day of meetings, and we were able to hear diverse perspectives from park programs, youth leadership to music and story books. Now, there are talks of creating an official network for Madagascar, with meetings to discuss currently taking place in Madagascar’s capital city. It all begins with getting people together and sharing diverse perspectives.

Great hope for what is to come!