This year (2011), we finished our second year of working in a project that trains cross-cultural environmental educators in coordination with the National Council for the Promotion of Education (CONAFE). During the first phase of the project in 2010, we trained 28 youth from the Rarámuri and Ódami indigenous peoples and mestizos from the municipalities of Guadalupe y Calvo, Balleza, Guachochi, Batopilas, Nonoava, and Morelos in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.
In the training workshops, the youth participated in the construction of conservation concepts and practices which are appropriate to their cultures.
In the second phase, implemented from June 2010 to May 2011, six training workshops were given in which 60 youth assistants, trainers, tutors, and CONAFE community instructors participated; the latter focus on the education of girls and boys in 54 communities in the Baborigame region, in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo.
During the workshops, issues such as the following were discussed: the effects of climate change and their relationship to commercial deforestation and deforestation caused by local villagers. Practical workshops were given on the theory of alternative measures to deforestation: reforestation, conservation, soil restoration, wood-saving stoves, and the prevention and control of forest fires.
The project also included research to document traditional knowledge held by the elderly Rarámuri and Ódami women and men regarding nature and the practices related to the utilization and care of the forest. The last project activity was an exchange between the elderly and the trainees. During the exchange, the elderly shared their knowledge about traditional forest conservation practices, while the youth explained to them what they had learned during the training workshops.
With the material compiled from the workshops, what was expressed by the elderly women and men during the research phase, and the information provided by specialists, we created a radio series named "The Forest in Our Hands," which comprises six radio programs lasting 10 minutes each and 10 three-minute-long radio skits. Similarly, we created a methodological guide for conservation entitled "Taking Care of the World: Down with Climate Change!" Both the audio and print materials were developed in three languages: Ódami, Rarámuri, and Spanish.