Programs at the Mianatra Center
The Art/Science Environmental Imperative
LCF hosts undergraduate science
and art students for a week-long exploration of how science and art
intersect. The program is by a scientist and an artist to develop an understanding of
how engangement with the arts can improve critical thinking skills and math and science education outcomes.
The first Art/Science Environmental Imperative was fully underwritten by the
Mr. and Mrs. Royall Victor, III.
To find out more about this program, what inspired it, future plans and links to some of the students' work
from the pilot program, click here.MORE
LCF is a beautiful, peaceful, 100-acre section of pristine old Florida full of “genii loci”, not to mention its charismatic and endangered inhabitants. It is a perfect place to explore the relationship between art and science. LCF has hosted both scientists and artists over the years. Dr. Laurie Santos from Yale University, who was named one of the 10 brightest young scientists by Popular Science, has conducted extensive cognitive research at the reserve with her students. About the Art/Science Environment Imperative, she wrote, “As for your idea for the art and science mission, I think this is a great idea, and something that LCF will be well-positioned to spearhead.” The LCF Art/Science Environmental Imperative could well create the work and insight that can help restore that sense of mystery, wonder and amazement needed to stir hearts and minds a as we search for solutions to environmental and conservation challenges.
The Teachers' Institute for Conservation Ecology
The Teachers Institute is a research-based summer program conducted by the
Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF) in Myakka City, Florida. The
program provides teachers with the necessary scientific
background, inspiration and specialized tools and techniques to
generate learning opportunities consistent with the National
Science Education Standards and their own state standards.
This working science environment allows teachers to experience the
nature of science through inquiry, and to explore stimulating
ways to engage with students and other teachers on this exciting topic.
The participants work with leading scientists and educators
who share their expertise and provide hands-on
activities designed to excite and motivate science
students! Using LCF's lemur colony and the native
habitat as resources, participants will also practice science through a
field-training program where they
learn proper fieldwork techniques under along side professional conservation biologists.
For more information
The first Sarasota Teachers’ Institute for Conservation
Biology workshop took place in June 2007. It received glowing
reviews from all the participants - in the words of one
middle school science teacher: “'I was blown away by the wealth
of information that I really did not have before this
During the program teachers enjoyed a variety of lectures given by prominent experts,
did field research and observed and recorded animal behavior. Using
their new skills, they developed new lesson plans to be used in their
own classes. This year the Teachers Institute will focus on the AKo Project and activities based
on the books 'The Ako Series: Madagascar Lemur Advenutres,' written by Dr. Alson Jolly and published by Lemur Conservation Foundation.
Sarasota County Science and Environmental Council
Booker High School students testing soil
Another education program grew out of LCF's founder, Penelope
Bodry-Sanders,’ involvement with the Science and Environment
Council of Sarasota County (SEC) where she serves as a board
The Council consists of non-profit and governmental institutions
dedicated to promoting science and conservation through education.
SEC and Sarasota County School District initiated a two-year
curriculum-enhancement pilot project in which LCF participated as a
host institution. Ninth graders were chosen for the pilot as it
appears that interest in science wanes at this grade level. The point
of the pilot project was to discover whether field trips to various
science and nature-oriented institutions (Mote Marine Laboratory,
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and LCF among others) could reignite
interest and “make science real” for students. The answer
is yes and “Students who attended the field-trips
demonstrated consistently better attitudes towards science than
students in the control or comparison classes.” *
Each field-trip included a class on some aspect of physical
science that related to the host’s scientific niche. LCF
certainly found the most literally down-to-earth subject to teach:
geophagia (“earth eating”, a behavior exhibited by most
primates, including humans). Students gathered soil, performed
chemical analyses of their samples and, based on the results,
attempted to answer the question “Why do lemurs and other
primates eat dirt?” Their speculations were correct - some
earth is full of minerals useful or needed for producing strong
Special Tampolo Program
Amalia Fernand and her students wearng their lemur masks in
Former LCF intern Amalia Fernand directed a one-week educational
workshop in Tampolo during her month-long stay in Madagascar.
Armed with paper, paint, crayon, microscopes, binoculars and
assorted craft supplies, Amalia led her students on a fun journey of
discovery... of their own backyard. Amalia raised all funds for her
expenses and supplies at the Montessori school of DeLand, Florida,
where she was teaching.
Observation of nature (binoculars and microscopes are popular
items), craft-making (lemur masks are a favorite), and field trips in
the Tampolo forest were all part of the fun week. Proof that the
project was a resounding success came when the number of children
attending the workshop increased from 25 to 64 in three days.
Based on her experiences teaching about Madagascar and lemurs both
at home and at Tampolo, Amalia is presently preparing a Comprehensive
Environmental Education Program about lemurs and their ecology for
English-speaking teachers. The program, which will be available on CD
and sold through LCF’s website next year, will include lesson
plans, readings, math problems and activities tailored for grades
four through six.