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EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education


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    [post_content] => Here are a few photos of our incredible educator group in Cochabamba.

1) At the Democracy Center with Jim Shultz

2) Working with the Bolivia Summer Student program to prepare the "q'oa" with Valentina, Dragons local community liaison.

3) Working with Chacra Feliz at their agroecology center.

4) Weaving with the summer students

5) Hanging with Oscar Olivera - world renowned water activist and author.

6) Clase de Qechua - moving beyond Spanish to indigenous languages of Bolivia.

 
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Some Photos from Cochabamba

Luis and Helen,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Here are a few photos of our incredible educator group in Cochabamba. 1) At the Democracy Center with Jim Shultz 2) Working with the Bolivia Summer Student program to prepare the “q’oa” with Valentina, Dragons local community liaison. 3) Working with Chacra Feliz at their agroecology center. 4) Weaving with the summer students 5) Hanging […]

Posted On

07/10/17

Author

Luis and Helen

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    [post_content] => After a few delayed flights and bags, the whole group (and all the bags!) have arrived in Cochabamba. We are settled into our orientation retreat at El Poncho EcoLodge in Quillacollo, a short drive outside of the city. We spent the morning diving into some grounding activities to orient ourselves to this place and to this group. We discussed goals and curiosities we hope to sink our teeth into during these two weeks together. We are looking forward to what will surely be an inspiring journey, rich with learning from each other and from our Bolivian hosts, speakers, teachers and friends. 2

 
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View post

Group has arrived!

Helen & Luis,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

After a few delayed flights and bags, the whole group (and all the bags!) have arrived in Cochabamba. We are settled into our orientation retreat at El Poncho EcoLodge in Quillacollo, a short drive outside of the city. We spent the morning diving into some grounding activities to orient ourselves to this place and to […]

Posted On

07/2/17

Author

Helen & Luis

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    [post_content] => Hello, everyone!  This is Kim Garcia-Meza.I am up late doing last minute packing and finally getting to post on the Yak Board hours before I board a plane to Bolivia.

A few notes about myself - I am originally from Wisconsin (born in Chicago) and then moved to California with my family when I was 12.  I moved to San Francisco in 1989 after graduating from college. For a professional biography you can look me up on our preschool's website (las-mananitas.com) but in a nutshell I have been teaching in San Francisco since 1989 as a Spanish bilingual elementary school teacher and 11 years ago founded my own preschool.  I am married with 3 kids, 2 hens (one sadly was killed in our backyard at the beginning of the summer), one dog, and one cat.  My husband has family in Cochabamba and La Paz, but I will connect with them in November when we visit with our kids. If you google me you will also see that I ran (unsuccessfully but what a ride!) for the SFUSD Board of Education in 2012 which will give you a glimpse into some of the educational and social issues which are important to me.  I am looking forward to spending time with fellow educators and adventurers.

 

 

 
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EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

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Director and Lead Teacher, Las Mañanitas Spanish Immersion Preschool

Kim Garcia-Meza,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Hello, everyone!  This is Kim Garcia-Meza.I am up late doing last minute packing and finally getting to post on the Yak Board hours before I board a plane to Bolivia. A few notes about myself – I am originally from Wisconsin (born in Chicago) and then moved to California with my family when I was […]

Posted On

06/30/17

Author

Kim Garcia-Meza

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    [post_content] => Hello Bolivia Educators,

We know that June is a busy time of year for educators. Final report cards, evaluations, commencement ceremonies, faculty meetings, and more. However, we hope that you'll find a little time before arriving in Bolivia to peruse these videos and short readings, so we can hit the ground running upon your arrival.

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EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

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Some pre-course watching, reading & thinking

Helen Rortvedt,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Hello Bolivia Educators, We know that June is a busy time of year for educators. Final report cards, evaluations, commencement ceremonies, faculty meetings, and more. However, we hope that you’ll find a little time before arriving in Bolivia to peruse these videos and short readings, so we can hit the ground running upon your arrival. […]

Posted On

06/11/17

Author

Helen Rortvedt

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    [post_content] => Hello everyone,

I am in the middle of comment writing for the end of the school year at Greens Farms Academy in CT.  I have been teaching global studies here for several years.  This blog and the reading materials gave me good reasons to procrastinate...

I am originally from La Paz, but I grew up in a small town called Riberalta which sits on the banks of the Beni and Madre de Dios rivers in the northern Bolivian Amazon region. The son of two environmentalists, I grew up hearing about the challenges of sustainable development in tropical forests. Later on, I became interested in mountaineering and climbing in the Bolivia Andes. Both of these experiences made clear to me that climate change and global markets have placed significant pressure on Bolivian communities and the natural environment they depend on. Since I heard about it in 2010, I have been interested in Dragons' educator program in Bolivia. I feel fortunate to finally have the opportunity to participate in it. It is a chance for me to learn about climate change from Bolivia's perspective and to gain a deeper understanding about the ways in which the students I work with in the US can benefit from doing the same.

I look forward to meeting everyone in the group as well as Luis and Helen.

Best,

Victor
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EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

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Greetings from a Bolivian

Victor Llanque,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Hello everyone, I am in the middle of comment writing for the end of the school year at Greens Farms Academy in CT.  I have been teaching global studies here for several years.  This blog and the reading materials gave me good reasons to procrastinate… I am originally from La Paz, but I grew up […]

Posted On

06/8/17

Author

Victor Llanque

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Greetings Bolivia Educators!

In just a few weeks’ time, you’ll be touching down in Cochabamba, the Plain of Lagoons, and we will begin our journey through the Central Valleys and High Plain (altiplano) of Bolivia. I am thrilled to introduce myself as one of your course instructors for our journey, alongside my dear friend, Luis Alvarado and with support from the one and only Valentina Campos.

Bolivia is big—her mountains, her vast altiplano and sacred Lago Titicaca, her rivers tumbling from glaciated peaks down the eastern slopes into the seemingly impenetrable jungle, and perhaps most notably, the hearts of her people—el pueblo boliviano.

I think that you will find that there is a tangible energy in Bolivia unlike anywhere else. It is at once an ancient land, rich with traditions dating back millennia and yet it is simultaneously caught up in an effort to exist (to thrive?) in a rapidly modernizing world and changing climate. In my experience, Bolivia has the power to challenge your worldview, your relationship to your environment, and your perception of yourself. All it asks, in return, is respect for the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and an open heart and mind.

I first traveled to Bolivia in 2008 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, nearly a decade ago, and I was almost immediately met with the sad news that “the world’s highest ski resort” had just recently closed its doors forever, due to the rapidly receding ice of the Chacaltaya glacier. Just a year later, in 2009, the ice was gone completely. The demise of this 18,000-year-old glacier, less than a year after I had learned of its existence, provided my rude awakening to the reality of Bolivia’s tenuous position on the frontlines of climate change.

In 2010, on one of my Dragons courses, we circumambulated the sacred mountain Illampu on foot. Illampu sits near the northern terminus of the Bolivian Cordillera Real and, at 6,368 meters above sea level, is Bolivia's fourth highest mountain. My guide and friend, Paulino, was born and raised high on the slopes of Illampu, above the town of Sorata. He told me stories about how, when he was a boy, there was almost twice as much nieve as there is today. While this story was impressive and alarming enough on its own, it really hit home when I found out that Paulino was actually younger than me.

Over the course of seven days, we climbed over 5,000-meter passes and plunged down into steep valleys inhabited by llama and alpaca herders and potato farmers. We never ascended as high as the snow-line on that trek, though Paulino assured me that, had we been there just a few years earlier, I would have needed crampons as I climbed over the highest pass on the trek. I was struck by the extremity of the environment, and by the closeness to the land by which the people of this region lived their lives. To me, they seemed paradoxically resourceful and vulnerable at the same time. Throughout Bolivia, Pachamama is both revered for her life-giving generosity and regarded with deference for her power to take it all away. Here, in these valleys below the receding snowlines, Aymara campesinos are watching with concern as their very livelihood creeps perilously higher and higher up the mountain each year.

I share these stories not to imply that Bolivia (and Bolivians) are helpless victims of climate change, but rather to illustrate their unfortunate position on the frontlines of a 21st-century global conflict they played little role in creating. I think you’ll find that Bolivians are both resourceful and reverent when it comes to protecting their natural environment, and we have much to learn from Bolivian ingenuity and resilience when it comes to bracing for and mitigating the inevitable effects of climate change that will ultimately affect us all.

I am honored that you’ve chosen to travel to Bolivia this summer to grapple with this issue in a very tangible way and to explore together ways that you can bring these lessons to life in your classrooms back home, or on the road with your students in the future. I am really looking forward to diving in deeper with you all in this very special place.

I am currently enjoying the belated arrival of summer in my home near the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont—my home-away-from-Bolivia.

In these next few weeks leading up to the course, please feel free to use this Yak Board as a place to post questions or comments as we prepare for our time together in Bolivia. If you haven’t yet posted a personal introduction, please do so! And, check back often, as Luis and I will soon be posting some pre-course prompts for you to consider and respond to.

Paz,

Helen

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Welcome, Bolivia Educators! (A note of introduction)

Helen Rortvedt,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Greetings Bolivia Educators! In just a few weeks’ time, you’ll be touching down in Cochabamba, the Plain of Lagoons, and we will begin our journey through the Central Valleys and High Plain (altiplano) of Bolivia. I am thrilled to introduce myself as one of your course instructors for our journey, alongside my dear friend, Luis […]

Posted On

06/6/17

Author

Helen Rortvedt

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    [post_content] => 

Esteemed Educators,

Greetings from beneath the overcast skies of Antigua, Guatemala, where I sit drinking warm strong coffee and thinking about our upcoming time together in Bolivia. My name is Luis Alvarado and along with Helen I’ll be facilitating your upcoming course in the Andes focused on the tools of experiential education and climate. I care a lot about education, and so I’m choosing my words carefully when I refer to myself as a ‘facilitator’ in this context. When working with Dragons students I typically use the word ‘instructor’ to describe my role, but experience tells me that in this context I’m not really instructing anything. I have worked several courses with educators and administrators over the past several years, I’ve learned a tremendous amount from each and every one of those courses (how can you not with so many teachers in the room!) and I have no doubt this year will be similar.

I began my foray into the forest of experiential education with Dragons around seven years ago. It all started for me right here where I sit now in Guatemala. I have always had a desire to understand the world in a way that goes beyond the trappings of the consumer culture in which I grew up. As a young person I found that there was a world of meaning that made more sense to me here in the Indigenous Americas. I moved to Guatemala to be around what I could perceive but not quite understand. I’ve spent the last 13 years moving around, 7 of them with Dragons, trying to get closer to a way of life or a worldview that provides me with support and understanding of this world. Time and time again I’ve found that support here among the Mayan people. My education has been slow, mainly because anything worth learning always takes a long time and because first I had to develop tools to even be able see what was in front of me.

As I mentioned above, as an educator with Dragons I’ve occupied the roles of student and teacher simultaneously. I’ve tried to act as a bridge between the people and places who have taught me many things and the eager young minds of our students. I’ve had successes and failures and I’ve learned a lot from both. My intention is to share all of that with you all during our time together so that collectively we can grow in our wisdom and understanding of how and why education can make a difference in our world. At the same time we’ll be looking together at issues of climate change that are affecting all of us across the planet. We’ll attempt to look at the issue from several perspectives, hopefully some of which will be new and interesting to you, including the often forgotten perspective of the original people of these lands.

It’s my hope that you take the next few weeks to wrap up your school year and work at home and then mentally prepare yourself for our upcoming time together. Helen and I will be posting some materials for you to check out here on the Yak board to help with that shift. If there’s anything else that I can do to help you as you prepare to come to Bolivia please don’t hesitate to be touch with me at luis@wheretherebedragons.com.

All my best,

 

Luis

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EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

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Hola from Luis

Luis Alvarado,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Esteemed Educators, Greetings from beneath the overcast skies of Antigua, Guatemala, where I sit drinking warm strong coffee and thinking about our upcoming time together in Bolivia. My name is Luis Alvarado and along with Helen I’ll be facilitating your upcoming course in the Andes focused on the tools of experiential education and climate. I […]

Posted On

06/4/17

Author

Luis Alvarado

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    [post_date] => 2017-05-27 17:41:27
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    [post_content] => Hi,

I'm Adrianna, but go by Jonna (pronounced yonna). I am a high school science teacher in San Francisco, and live in west Marin, not far from Pt. Reyes National Park. For the past 4 years I've co-taught an interdisciplinary Climate Change course with a colleague from our Humanities Department who has expertise in government and policy. I have spent my life studying and teaching environmental science, and am passionate about finding solutions to the problems we are facing. The picture that I am attaching was taken in Cameroon, where I lived with Baka guides in the bush while studying anthropogenic effects on large frugivorous birds during graduate school. My experiences in Africa profoundly impacted my life, and set me on a course of thinking about both environmental and social issues from a global perspective.

I am very excited about this summer's course! In addition, after it ends I am traveling to the Amazon and also hope to do the El Choro trek. If anyone else on the course is interested in joining me please let me know!

I look forward to meeting everyone,

Jonna
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Introduction and Invitation

Adrianna Smyth,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

Hi, I’m Adrianna, but go by Jonna (pronounced yonna). I am a high school science teacher in San Francisco, and live in west Marin, not far from Pt. Reyes National Park. For the past 4 years I’ve co-taught an interdisciplinary Climate Change course with a colleague from our Humanities Department who has expertise in government […]

Posted On

05/27/17

Author

Adrianna Smyth

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Hello everyone! My name is Jennifer and I’m from South Texas, right on the border of Mexico. That being said, once you meet me, you’ll forget I’m from Texas because of my funny accent- that’s because I have been living abroad for over 12 years now in Germany, Thailand, Colombia and currently Curaçao.

 

I’m a High School Science and Biology teacher. I am deeply passionate about living things and the environment, and I try to pass that passion on to my students.

 

I have always had a strong personal drive to conserve resources (and to annoy people by always asking them to do so too, haha), so there is not one specific moment that connects me to our themes… however, I can say that the more I travel the more I see how important it is for us to work together to protect our planet.

I am looking forward to having some fresh ideas from this course to help me light the fire of change in more students!

*The pic was taken in Rapa Nui- I find this island's story such an important example of the consequences of over exploitation of resources.

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Introduction

Jennifer Lenz,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

  Hello everyone! My name is Jennifer and I’m from South Texas, right on the border of Mexico. That being said, once you meet me, you’ll forget I’m from Texas because of my funny accent- that’s because I have been living abroad for over 12 years now in Germany, Thailand, Colombia and currently Curaçao.   […]

Posted On

05/27/17

Author

Jennifer Lenz

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    [post_content] => “The state, at its various levels, and society, in harmony with the common interest, must ensure the necessary conditions in order that the diverse living systems of Mother Earth may absorb damage, adapt to shocks, and regenerate without significantly altering their structural and functional characteristics, recognizing that living systems are limited in their ability to regenerate, and that humans are limited in their ability to undo their actions.”

-Excerpt from The Law of the Rights of Mother Earth,

The Plurinational State of Bolivia

  Dear friends, I recently had a conversation with one of our contacts in the city of El Alto, a vast urban center situated on the Bolivian altiplano above La Paz at an altitude of 13,615 feet. Home to the majority of Bolivia’s Aymara indigenous population, El Alto is considered one of the fastest growing cities in South America. Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real range, El Alto’s brief history (the city was founded in 1985) provides one of the most powerful examples of social organization and indigenous activism in Latin American history. It is also a city on the brink of climate disaster. Doña María, our friend who directs the Center for Development of Campesina Women in El Alto, told me that El Alto’s water supply, fed by rapidly receding glaciers in the surrounding mountain range, will not survive another year of drought. El Alto’s water crisis threatens the nearly 2 million inhabitants of the twin cities of El Alto and La Paz, Bolivia’s largest metropolitan area. This is ground zero for global climate change. How did the city of El Alto become one of Bolivia’s largest cities since it’s founding only 32 year ago? In what ways have the Aymara residents of the Bolivian altiplano redefined the parameters of indigenous rights and identity over the past 15 years? How does it come to be that one of only two countries in the world with constitutional protections of the rights of Mother Earth is facing some of the most serious threats posed by global climate alterations? And why is it that Bolivia’s largest mountain range, located in the heart of the Andes, is uniquely vulnerable to these rapid changes? These are just some of the questions that you will explore on your upcoming journey to Bolivia. I’m the Program Director of our student programming in Central and South America, and I wanted to take a moment to welcome you to the 2017 Educators Course in Bolivia. I cannot think of a more dramatic, inspiring, and revealing backdrop from which to engage with issues of global education and climate change. Bolivia has been my home for nearly 8 years, and I have been involved with Dragons’ South America programming since 2011. From our program base in the Tiquipaya countryside, I have had the privilege of connecting closely with our local contacts and communities, while also collaborating with our contacts and staff in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and our home office in Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately we won’t have the chance to connect in-person in Bolivia this July - I’ll be supporting our summer programming from the office in Boulder - but I’m excited for you to delve into our community, build relationships with our beloved host families, and engage with powerful themes that will move from the glaciated peaks of the Andes, to a farming village on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and into your classrooms back home. Luis and Helen will be compassionate and incredibly informed guides on your journey through Bolivia.  Luis has been overseeing our 9-month Bridge Year Program in Bolivia during the academic year, and by now deftly handles a traditional Andean loom and is intimately integrated into our community in Tiquipaya. Helen’s connections to the landscapes and struggles of Bolivia go back to her years as a Peace Corps volunteer nearly a decade ago, and her work as an educator has brought her back to South America with Dragons over and over again. Luis and Helen’s regional fluency and passion as educators will provide perspective and guidance as you connect intimately with the landscape of Bolivia and explore themes of regional and global relevance. Bolivia is a land of extremes.  Dizzying, snow-capped peaks descend at an astonishing rate into tropical lowland forests, and the nation’s first indigenous president fervently defends the rights of the Mother Earth while forging new pathways of development and environmental destruction.  Bolivia is the land of the most opulent mineral wealth in the world’s history, staggering ecological diversity, and notoriously pessimistic indicators of international development. The country provides a revealing picture of both the precipitous impacts of a changing climate and striking examples of human resilience in the face of that change.  These characteristics make Bolivia a fascinating and at times tragic place of study, and few places on the planet speak to these issues with more eloquence and urgency. Prepare to be immersed in powerful and varied landscapes, critical questions, and experiential learning techniques that will challenge and expand the way you conceptualize and teach to climate issues in the future. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us here on the Yak board or personally as you prepare for your trip to Bolivia.  We look forward to seeing the journey unfold! 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A Warm Welcome – Latin America Program Director

Julianne Chandler,EDUCATOR: Bolivia: Climate Change Education

Description

“The state, at its various levels, and society, in harmony with the common interest, must ensure the necessary conditions in order that the diverse living systems of Mother Earth may absorb damage, adapt to shocks, and regenerate without significantly altering their structural and functional characteristics, recognizing that living systems are limited in their ability to […]

Posted On

05/16/17

Author

Julianne Chandler

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