One thing that terrifies me about educating children about anything is that it’s SO easy to educate them wrong. Children are learning machines, picking up nuances and inferences whether we want them to or not. When tattooed trappers or angry farmers come to their classrooms they are likely to pick up whatever is cruel nonsense is handed to them.
Take this program in the Ukraine, for example, doing its best to teach every one of the thousand 9-year-olds that visits it’s park each year how destructive beavers can be.
Last weekend, the members of the Children’s Ecology and Nature Study Academy of Feldman Ecopark carried out an expedition to the National Nature Park “Homilshanski Lisy” in Zmiiv region (Kharkiv oblast), where they studied the influence of beavers on the environmen
“By taking measurements of teeth marks – bites left by beavers, it became possible to determine that both solitary animals and the families live here. We came to a conclusion that the influence on the environment is not critical now, however, in case of the population growth this influence may become threatening,” the head of the circle of biologists of the Children’s Academy of Feldman Ecopark Anna Pozdniakova told.
Google translate aside, that’s a scary paragraph. By measuring the teeth marks on the trees the children are taught to ID the beavers that live in the region so they can tell their individuals AND families? That doesn’t make sense. Aren’t members of families individuals? If a family had adults yearlings and kits, as all families do, wouldn’t show up on all the trees as different marks?
If you wrongly assume that the only trees eaten by family members are those with teeth marks from multiple beavers and trees with only bites from only a single beaver are from bachelors you are going to be wrong and inflate your numbers incredibly! Sometimes beavers have helpers and sometime they don’t. It depends on the width of the tree. It depends on how closely your brother is watching and much he wants to snack too. It depends. on if your parents are feeling hungry and want to take over your ridiculous efforts. It depends,
The expedition of 9 young naturalists aged 9-16 was aimed at the study of the location near the hill Kozacha Hora in the village of Koropove. The workers of the natural park have told and showed how they register flora and fauna, and provided young researchers with an opportunity to take measurements in practice and to carry out other researches allowing to define the beaver population size and how it influences the natural environment in the reserve.
I know, I got excited about the words ‘influences the natural environment’ too. but it’s another translation error, What they actually mean is “ruin”.