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Laura Barraza, PhD.

Laura Barraza, PhD.

Associate Director of the Visitor Center 

Only if we understand the relationships between the attitudes that local population has towards the different ecosystems and the factors that influence those attitudes, then we will be able to understand and improve the quality of life in human communities (Barraza, 2005)
 
I am Laura Barraza. Mexican by heart, Australian by spirit,  and an explorer for life. I have a curious mind and I am always eager to learn. I studied Science of Education in Mexico, have a diploma in endangered species management from the University of Kent in the U.K. and a PhD in Conservation Education from the University of Cambridge, UK.
 
I have lived in Mexico, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Australia and Africa. I have two beautiful daughters, Daniela and Jimena, my angels and my light. Both are committed every day to living a life with love, honesty, happiness and community based.
 
The first time I heard about the existence of Gorongosa National Park was in 2010 at an International Conference in Braga, Portugal, where I met Vasco; it was from that first moment that I knew I wanted to visit this place full of magic, mystery, biological and cultural richness and beauty without equal. It was not until the end of 2016 that I visited the park and couldn’t leave, my heart and my soul stayed in Gorongosa.
 
For the last 30 years I have dedicated my professional life to work in the field of conservation education, community development, and research on two main areas:
 
1)  Cognitive processes involved in the acquisition and incorporation of environmental knowledge; and 
 
2)  Science education, perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge about the environment in diverse cultural settings; and more recently participating in decision-making processes, indigenous knowledge systems, environmental values and cultural heritage.
 
I am Associate Director of the Visitor Center and responsible for the interpretation, communication and signage of the park. We are designing and developing educational panels on conservation topics for our visitors and communities from the buffer zone that visit us. I am also part of the team planning the Summit on Women and National Parks in Mozambique in partnership with National Geographic and World Bank. We assist and provide training to our staff and to community members in topics related to conservation education; and I am also teaching two modules at the master’s Program of Conservation Biology in the Park.