Perceptions of the value of traditional ecological knowledge to formal school curricula

01 July 2013 | Article

Joe McCarter (Postdoctoral Fellow) and Mike Gavin (Assistant Professor and Academic Director, Conservation Leadership Through Learning Program based in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University (CSU) have worked broadly to examine patterns of biological and cultural diversity, and spans a variety of topics from global linguistic diversity to distribution and variation of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).

A current major project is focused on the intersection of biological and cultural conservation, and seeks to examine the opportunities and challenges inherent in biocultural conservation approaches. In late May 2013, they convened a small workshop at CSU (including CEESP chair Aroha Mead), which will set out a research program to examine the impact of cultural change, in particular in TEK, on resource management and conservation.

The paper featured in this newsletter discusses the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in schools in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. As in many areas of the world, TEK is important for resource management in Vanuatu but may be at risk amid social and ecological change. In this paper, they discuss the pros and cons of including TEK in school with 48 interviewees (including community TEK experts, teachers, and government officials).