Involving the younger generation in conservation and technology is one of Wildlife.ai’s main goals. Today’s students will be our future environmental stewards and fostering a sense of responsibility early on will help them develop a commitment to preserving our planet (or what’s left of it).
To realize this vision, Wildlife.ai has developed Wild About AI, a STEM programme aimed at educating and empowering youth to take an active role in environmental preservation.
We launched this programme in 2023 in schools around the Taranaki region, New Zealand. As of October 2023, the team has delivered the course to +200 students, providing year 6-9 students with the opportunity to learn about the cultural significance of the nearby Tapuae Marine Reserve, marine biodiversity and the general use of technology in wildlife conservation.
Photograph of teacher, Floyd Pahi, and students from Devon Intermediate School taking part of the Wild About AI programme.
To encourage involvement and ensure students take full ownership of the programme, we were privileged to partner with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Te Ara Taiao. The successful collaboration enabled students to actively take part in the monitoring of protected marine areas in the region.
One of my favourite parts of my role, as the Education Programme Coordinator, was bringing real-world projects into the classroom to teach students what’s actually happening in the field. Participating and contributing to a real-world conservation project not only promotes engagement among students but also effectively bridges the gap between theoretical learning and practical application.
Our programme has introduced students to potential conservation and tech careers and helped them understand basic STEM subjects. Additionally, when the students share their learnings and citizen science resources with their families, it increases community involvement with conservation projects.
Photograph of Portia Smith teaching the Wild About AI programme.
We are working to scale up the programme to reach more schools, ensuring that its invaluable benefits are widely available to learners from diverse backgrounds and locations.
You can check out the online course of Wild About AI, reach out with comments/questions and follow us for more updates.