For the safety of the Malagasy people, the lemurs, and the PICC staff, the onsite session of the PICC project will be postponed until it can safely resume. Meanwhile, we are developing a number of exciting and creative online and on-site Madagascar projects to take place this summer.

Experienced and knowledgeable Malagasy guide, Pascal Elison, and Director Kathy West have developed teaching materials and arrangements for a PICC session in the Ambodiforaha village next to the Masoala National Park. Pascal began teaching the session to 28 children this week! Pascal (and his talented artist son!) will provide the Malagasy children with information about their local lemurs and biodiversity, conservation awareness, and skills to share their new knowledge.

Children sketch endangered white fronted brown lemurs in the Masoala forest. Photo by Pascal Elison

Blank notebooks, pencils and colored pencils have been purchased, worksheets have been developed and printed, and lunch snacks have been gathered for the 28 school-aged children in the village. Pascal is teaching them through discussions in the village, demonstrations of field sketching and scientific drawing, and guided walks to the forest and beaches to visit the lemurs and experience the forest with their new knowledge, practicing their drawing and note-taking along the way.  Pascal is even taking them on a night hike to see the night lemurs! Joining them is a local teacher who will be provided with the teaching materials to continue exploring these lessons. The children’s drawings and stories will be shared on the PICC website soon. 

To share the lemur conservation lessons with a broader audience, University of California, Davis veterinary medicine student Samantha Pulgini is developing a children’s knowledge and activity website using the PICC lessons and coloring book. We are excited to share these lessons worldwide with international students in many countries! Look for a link to this site coming soon.

PICC will also be supporting the Malagasy people during the pandemic. Pascal is a professional guide and has had to cancel all of his clients for the unforeseeable future. Madagascar’s borders are closed and its internal transportation is locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Ambodiforaha village relies on the work that local lodges and tourism provides. The PICC program truly appreciates Pascal’s efforts and time and is paying his wages for his worked time and also missed opportunities for this summer’s canceled PICC session. 

Please contact us with any questions about how we are finding ways to continue with our outreach efforts and support the local communities during these challenging times.

Red ruffed lemur

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