The core of BAPP's efforts to inform our communities about pumas and local ecosystems is a set of environmental education programs for middle schools and high schools throughout the Bay Area. Called 'CAT Aware', these innovative programs teach students about:
- the balance and healthy functioning of natural habitats
- the central role of pumas in the local ecology
- the effects of human expansion on these ecosystems
- the larger environmental issues that these trends raise
The program focuses on the charismatic puma as keystone species, in order to convey both the richness of the natural world and the growing damage being done to it by human activities, and to make a powerful impression about the need to preserve habitats and foster healthy co-existence between humans and wildlife.
The CAT Aware Education Program includes:
Science Lab: A hands-on science lab focusing on predator-prey interactions and the effects of human encroachment on the natural balance; there will also be a separate online version of this lab that runs as a predator-prey population simulator.
Field Trip: An optional field trip to puma habitat to experience real wildlife science with biologists studying wild pumas, including seeing signs of pumas in the forest (tracks, scratches, scat) and tracking actual pumas in the study with radio telemetry.
Interactive Website: A project website for the Bay Area Puma Project that provides interactive tracking maps, community discussion forums, researcher blogs, photos and videos of study cats, etc.
Immersive 3D Game: An online and mobile game called Puma Wild that allows the player to become a puma and experience first hand how human development makes it more difficult to survive.
Remote Cameras: Schools have the opportunity to engage students directly in citizen science by having them help with maintaining a remote camera station in a natural area close to their school.
To learn more about bringing CAT Aware to your school please get in touch.