Celine

Celine Tschirhart

Royal Holloway University of London
Egham, United Kingdom

An ‘Amaz-ing’ Open Day – COBRA

Introducing COBRA and the Amazon on Science Open Day at Royal Holloway, University of London

March 25, 2013

For the second year in a row, COBRA engages with the Public on Science Open Day, at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Welcoming the public on Science Open Day

For the second year in a row, the COBRA team was asked to set up an ‘Amazon Room’ for Science Open Day at Royal Holloway, University of London on Saturday 23 March 2013. It gave Céline Tschirhart, Lisa Ingwall and Ian-James Clanton a great opportunity to engage with the public, to showcase their research, to raise children’s curiosity through interactive activities and answer the parent’s questions about our research.

As the COBRA project works with participatory visual methods (see Briefing), a new photostory activity was developed this year. Little – and no so little – children particularly enjoyed arranging pictures in the right order to show the steps to make cassava bread. As real cassava roots and tools to process the cassava were set around the activity, children got a great understanding of the local knowledge necessary to cultivate and process cassava thanks to tools made out of the different plants available in the environment. People thought the matapee (the strainer used to extract the poisonous juice out of the cassava) was particularly ingenious and looked like a big snake. And while children were involved in colouring-in giant otters and macaws, or in matching foot prints with animals of the rain-forest,  parents could read the posters and ask questions about Project COBRA, Payment for Ecosystem Services (Lisa’s PhD), Living Buildings and the Moraceae project (Ian-James’ PhD), and contamination by mercury in the Amazon (Céline’s PhD).

It gave the public an ‘Amaz-ing’ big picture of the Amazon, showing its remarkable ecosystem, the crucial role indigenous communities can play in providing solutions to maintain these ecosystems healthy, and the innovative approaches COBRA uses to work together with the local communities of Guyana. Like last year, we were thrilled to see so much interest from the public and we are looking forward to come back with more engaging, eye-opening and activities related to the project. See you next year!

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