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Endangered ecosystems brought to life

November 22nd, 2018

Red legged tarantulas, giant millipedes and a praying mantis were among a fascinating array of insects handled by Year 8 during a recent visit from the Rainforest Roadshow.

The students were treated to the amazing rainforest experience as part of their exploration of Brazil and tropical rainforests during their Geography studies.

Dave Shaw, from the Rainforest Roadshow, staged a whole day of fun and thought-provoking activities, including talks on issues facing rainforest tribes and workshops, to enable pupils to gain a greater understanding of this fascinating and endangered ecosystem. Dave has been a regular visitor to Monmouth School for Girls since 2008. His experiences, stories, photographs, insects, rainforest foods and tribal art add that extra dimension which enables pupils to understand the many issues that face these amazing ecosystems and the lives of its indigenous people.

Head of Geography, Mr. Meek, said: “Dave is a trained entomologist and pupils were fascinated with the insects he presented and discussed. The recent banning of the Iceland Christmas television advert proved quite a talking point. Pupils voiced their disapproval of the ban, which highlights the impacts of palm oil cultivation on rainforests and orangutans. Iceland have taken a firm stand on the use of palm oil, however their advert, produced by Greenpeace, has been labelled political and cannot be shown on UK television.”

Mr. Shaw also spoke at length about his recent trip to Ecuador’s rainforests, and about the new Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, who has declared his intention of opening up the Amazon Rainforest to new development, and to restrict the rights of native tribes.

Speaking about the experience, a year 8 pupil commented: “Mr. Shaw brought some amazing photographs from his travels and also various insects, including a praying mantis that is camouflaged as a flower. He also brought some interesting foods from the rainforest. I really enjoyed the Roadshow event as you could learn about the rainforest from someone who has been exploring them for many years.”

Mr. Shaw concluded by encouraging pupils to research current issues facing the world’s rainforests and to voice their views and opinions through online petitions. The ‘release Iceland’s banned Christmas advert campaign’ has now reached over 800,000 signatures. Pupils will be exploring issues facing rainforest tribes and palm oil in follow-up classwork with Mr Jones and Mrs Harper. They will be encouraged to explore why Iceland has banned palm oil from its products and the future of rainforests like the Amazon.

Summing up the day as a whole, a Year 8 pupil said: “I really enjoyed the Roadshow, it was entertaining and informative. Thank you.”







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