By Adrienne McGill
I’m one of the environmental educators here at Gorongosa National Park and I would like to introduce you to our amazing community education team and the Community Education Center (aka the CEC). The CEC’s construction was completed in 2010, and over the past 2.5 years, over 1,300 people have visited the CEC! Overall, we have worked with over 8,500 people educating them about conservation. We have been busy! We conduct a lot of different types of activities that I’ll share with you in blog posts to come. We work with school environmental clubs, teachers, natural resource management committees, park employees, local leaders and really anyone that is excited to learn about conservation!
Our team is made up of four environmental educators. Like I said, my name is Adrienne, or to many communities, Adriana! I am an American, returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who began working in 2011 as a volunteer environmental educator at the CEC, and began working for the park in 2012.
Herculano Ernesto is the Conservation Education Manager. He has been with the CEC from the start and working in the park even before it was finished.
Adolfo Macadona, best known as Macadona, came to our team this year after being a safari guide for many years in Gorongosa. He grew up here while his father worked in the park.
Changamire Barreto, best known as Barreto, joined our team most recently as an Environmental Education Assistant, before that he was the store-room manager at the CEC. He grew up in the Pungue community near the CEC.
The CEC is a one of a kind location in Mozambique - it was built using green architecture, using local resources and staff for construction. There are 13 buildings on the grounds, including 6 dormitories, a school, office, cafeteria and more! You can see from the pictures that it blends in to nature, which was the whole point – to minimize the visual and environmental impact. Each building has solar panels for lighting and also has a rain-water capture system so we can use that water throughout the year. Everyone is always amazed by the CEC - it is truly a beautiful and amazing place to visit!