June/July 2014: For over a decade the DuMond Conservancy has conducted an immersive science and conservation program in which youth from our local community work on a volunteer basis and study on the grounds of Monkey Jungle alongside staff and university students. In June of 2014 we received funding to extend the reach and impact of this program as HOPE: Hands on Primate Education.
HOPE: Hands on Primate Education
The DuMond Conservancy has a very active weekend youth program where students can earn community service hours. Our current youth program is the H.O.P.E. program. Our Program Mission is to immerse youth in conservation and science by engaging them in the active care of our owl monkeys and other activities on the grounds of Monkey Jungle. Middle and high school participants are recruited from a diverse school base in south Miami-Dade County.
The 50+ nocturnal owl monkeys at the Conservancy are at the heart of our mission to engage students and young scientists in the stewardship of primates and their habitats. Many are retired from biomedical research and are provided specialized care. Huge, warm eyes and unique social behavior make owl monkeys very engaging and ideal ambassadors for primate conservation.
The DuMond Conservancy is partnering with Encounters in Excellence (see Links tab), a non-profit organization who specializes in developing film lectures on natural history topics since 1978. The HOPE students will learn video production and narration skills to produce a five-minute bilingual video.
Through our collaboration with Entropika (see Links tab), an organization dedicated to long-term conservation of tropical diversity in the Colombian Amazon, there will be connection to this youth-led video. This video will introduce Tikuna Indian youth in Colombia and DuMond Conservancy youth in learning about owl monkeys’ natural history and the different cultures of the United States and Colombia. Written and produced by HOPE students, this video also serves as an educational resource for the students to engage with their own schools through classroom presentations by the students.
The HOPE program is educating participants in primate biology and related conservation issues through multi-media instruction, as well as service learning opportunities in caring for our owl monkeys. This will also include animal care and viewing night-time video footage of the behavior of these unique new world primates.