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The Environmental Bolivian Foundation Gaia Pacha (www.gaiapacha.org)  in its search to bring Earth Education to Bolivia held a first meeting with the International Program Coordinator of the Institute for Earth Education, Bruce Johnson, Ph.D.  This motivating meeting took place in front of the Lake Titicaca, in the town of Puno in Peru on March 14th of 2013.  During the meeting, representatives of both institutions discussed future steps to develop and present a pilot Earthkeepers program in Bolivia.

In 2014, thanks to the support of Partners of the Americas chapter of Arkansas (USA) and the Bolivian Lowlands, one representative of Gaia Pacha had the opportunity to attend to a 10-days on-the-field workshop about the Earthkeepers program on January in Tucson, Arizona.

This training event took place at the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning organized by the IEE, and the college of Education of the University of Arizona.  During this time, the representative of the Gaia Pacha foundation had the opportunity to learn about the Earthkeepers program and also witness the positive impact of the program with children from the Miller School in Tucson.

In this way, future steps to obtain the support from the Arizona University and the Institute for Earth Education for the program implementation in Bolivia could be coordinated. It is important to mention that Gaia Pacha as an institutional member of Partners of the Americas in Bolivia, has the copyrights to run the Earthkeepers program in Bolivia.  This means it’s the first time an Earth Education program will be conducted in Spanish in a Latin-american country as a pilot program.

The training trip in Arizona was greatly complemented by an educational program held in Arkansas.  During the time of the Gaia Pacha representative in Arkansas, interaction with several educational, and environmental institutions in Arkansas (Little Rock, and Fayetteville) was possible.  In fact, as a result of this trip, one volunteer from the ONSC (Ozarks Natural Science Center) could work as an intern in the Earthkeepers program since August 2014. Also, in 2016, a Bolivian representative from the Gaia Pacha foundation could performs a practical internship at ONSC in order to learn more about Natural Science & Environmental education in the outdoors.  All these efforts aimed to conduct the Earthkeepers program in the field more comfortably and complement it with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities back in the schools.

None of these actions would have been worth it, if we hadn´t counted with the strong support from the Ecological Applied Center Simón I. Patiño (CEASIP).  The CEASIP is an agro-ecological farm that produces vegetables and dairy products in a very friendly way with the environment.  This farm is located in the midst of the protected area Lomas de Arena.  Big part of the Earthkeepers program is run in the CEASIP´s property called Los Troncos which is a very conserved natural area where the participants can discover and learn from the wonders of the local biodiversity.

Now we are in the process of consolidating the program across the country and we need support to continue doing it.

If you want to know more about the implementation of this program in Bolivia, or if you are interested in collaborate with it in any form please write to: cesarphc@gmail.com, or cesar.perez@gaiapacha.org, or call the cell-phone number in Bolivia: (+591) 774 50892.

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