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Storytelling and environmental information: Connecting schoolchildren and herpetofauna in Morocco

TitleStorytelling and environmental information: Connecting schoolchildren and herpetofauna in Morocco
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsFanini, L, Fahd S
JournalIntegrative Zoology
Keywordsenvironmental education, herpetofauna, information sources, Moroccan Rif, primary school

Northwestern Morocco is undergoing a sudden change in the level of infrastructure growth and pressure on the
environment from increased tourism. The ongoing changes are raising questions about how the ecosystem will
react, and the relevant drivers of these changes. The Oued Laou valley in north-west Morocco hosts high landscape,
species and human cultural diversity. The Talassemtane National Park has been established to preserve the environment
in this region; however, what information tools are available to children regarding this environment? The
ecosystem is illustrated here using three components: herpetofauna (representing ecosystem components), problems
related to water quantity and quality (representing interactions within ecosystem components) and Talassemtane
National Park (representing a case of ecosystem management). A children’s book was written on this topic, and
when the book was delivered to pupils, a questionnaire was included, aimed at determining their sources of environmental
information. The results identified major changes in the sources of information utilized by children in this
part of Morocco, a clear role of schools in explaining ecosystem components, and an increasing role of TV in
environmental information supply. The role of the family was found to be less important than TV or school. Another
major source of pupils’ environmental knowledge is personal observation and hands-on experience, both for rural
and urban children. Children are willing to discover and understand complex systems, and researchers should be
encouraged to supply children with correct and up-to-date information on environmental systems, focusing at first
on the local environment, as a background for sustainable development.