Women for Conservation is proud to partner with the ProAves Foundation and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund to promote the Rana Chiva Bus, a community-based mobile environmental awareness project. This real-life “Magic School Bus” brings conservation education to school children and community members throughout Colombia. The project’s objective is to bring community-based environmental awareness to schools for students to learn about conserving three of Colombia’s endangered species: the Colombian Oak (Quercus humboldtii), the Lynch’s Colombian tree frog (Hyloscirtus lynchi) and the Colombian mountain grackle (Macroagelaius subalaris).
Traditionally, a chiva is a big rustic artisan bus that is a both a means of transportation and cultural trademark in Colombia and other Andean regions. The Rana Chiva combines our Colombian identity characterized by its colorful figures and designs with environmental education. Women for Conservation’s Vice President Isabella Cortes acted as the Creative Director and oversaw the artistic vision of the project highlighting Colombia’s multicultural heritages and biodiversity.
Initially, the bus started touring and visiting schools and community events in the department of Santander, located in the Andes mountains. Due to its overwhelming success, the Rana Chiva has expanded its route to tour around the entire country.
This mobile educational project uses a multi-media and play-based experience to promote conservation and the preservation of critically endangered species in each municipality. As soon as people board the mobile classroom, they are taken on imaginative learning experiences about Colombia’s incredible biodiversity. The educational games on the bus are geared toward school-age children and educate them on the importance of conserving endangered species. Our educational methods focus on awakening children’s curiosity about Colombia’s natural environments through sensory experiences, tactile objects, and educational play. The Rana Chiva will continue touring the department of Santander and the country, promoting a sense of belonging and respect for biodiversity.
To date, more than 12,500 people have boarded the Rana Chiva mobile classroom, specifically from the municipalities of San Vicente de Chucurí, Carmen de Chucurí, Betulia, and Sabana de Torres in the department of Santander. In addition to regular school visits, the Rana Chiva has attended multiple local cultural festivals in various municipalities and large-scale conservation events. In November, the Rana Chiva visited the National Birdwatching Conference in the city of Manizales, and in April, the bus was part of the Reconcile with Nature campaign in the municipality of Jardín, Antioquia.
“The Rana Chiva is still touring the country, visiting municipalities and villages, and so far we have visited more than 22 schools in 3 departments. More than 3,000 children have boarded the Rana Chiva and have enjoyed learning, having fun and becoming engaged in conservation campaigns. We hope we can visit more municipalities, and if you see the Rana Chiva, make sure to hop on board so you can have a great experience and learn many things about nature” – David Rodriguez, Environmental Educator of the RanaChiva.
Hop on board the Rana Chiva for environmental conservation!