Environmental and animal education connects us to the world around us, teaching us about both nature and environment. Environmental and animal education raises awareness of issues impacting the environment upon which we all depend, as well as actions we can take to improve and sustain it.
Whether we bring nature into the classroom, take students outside to learn, or find impromptu teachable moments on a nature walk with our families, environmental and animal education has many benefits for youth, educators, schools, and communities. As part of TOSCO Trust Awareness program, we had partnership with PAKO Kids Magazine to help create awareness through the writing of environmental education articles that will be shared around all of Namibia. At the same time we made a call for contribution between our partners and members.
Meet Petra Scheuermann,
A Namibian citizen, that was so passionate about changing the world for animals and nature that she created a magazine for Kids. Mother of 2 daughters, one of 10 and another one 12 years old. “My green peace kids” that’s what she calls them.
Eight years ago, she had an idea to develop a learning tool for kids teaching them about animals and nature. That’s how PAKO Kids Magazine came to life. Since then, her 2 daughters are living the whole experience with PAKO Magazine.
What is PAKO Magazine for Kids?
PAKO Kids Magazine is a Namibian Magazine that combines information, games, poster, experiments etc. – to teach children about animals and nature while having fun.
On October 2011, I started the PAKO Kids Magazine where I try to educate kids about pets handling and to wake their interest for animals and nature/environment.
PAKO Kids Magazine offers parents and teachers an easy way to extend their child’s learning and activity opportunities beyond the classroom.
How PAKO Kids Magazine starts?
The whole idea to create a Magazine for kids started 8 years ago. We realized how many things could be avoided if people know better. At first I was involved with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) putting some flyers together to inform people in general. It’s painful to see what people do to animals because of their lack of knowledge.
There were so many things to talk about, that I thought it would be a great idea to create a magazine for kids. And 8 years later, here am I, teaching kids about animals and nature.
What do you want to achieve with this magazine?
There are some many kids in Namibia that didn’t grow up with animals, they don’t have pets (dogs or cats etc.), and so they don’t know how to behave around these animals. For some of them, pets are just some objects.
So, I want to teach them how to take care of animals and nature, I want to tell them, that animals have feeling and we can live all together.
Our mission is simple – help children learn about animals and nature and develop caring and understanding relationships.
Protection through education is our motto.
How many people are involved in this project and where did the idea to write down the articles come from?
For the moment it’s just me. I have some partners that help me with some articles, like Africat, Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), few other rescue organisations and soon Tourism Supporting Conservation (TOSCO Trust); but most of the work done by just me.
Regarding where the ideas are coming from to develop the articles, I gather some info from the web to develop the articles, or many of times when I’m visiting the schools the kids have questions and from that I get ideas on what articles to develop next.
Sometimes parents are asking me about where to take a sick or injured bird, dog therapy, horse therapy and much more, so that give me more ideas.
How many magazines per edition have you printed out? And which schools are currently beneficiating with PAKO Kids Magazine?
We have 6 editions per year and we print out around 4000 / 5000 magazines per edition.
We have around 17 schools that are beneficiaries from our Magazine;
- Grootfontein: Wilhelm Nortier Primary School / Tel: 067 – 243 035
- Kamanjab: Grootberg Primary School / Tel: 067 – 330 001
- Okahandja: J.G. van der Wath Secondary School / Tel: 062 – 501 491
- Otjiwarongo:Privatschule Otjiwarongo, Perivoli Okonjima Country School
- Swakopmund: Mondesa Youth Opportunity
- Windhoek: DHPS, Dagbreek School, Delta School Windhoek (Primary), Holy Cross Convent School, Emma Hoogenhout Primary School, Dagbreek School, Mammadu, St. George‘s Diocesan School, St. Paul‘s College, Waldorf School Windhoek, Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool, Windhoek Gymnasium
We do however have a quite long list asking for magazine but currently we don’t have funds to provide them with magazines. That’s why we are trying to get more sponsors so we could deliver magazine to these schools.
Could you please tell us a little be more about “Sponsor a School” ?
Yes, of course. This is a program where anybody can participate on. If people want to support us, they can give 100NAD per year to sponsor underprivileged children. For only N$ 100.00 a year, one more child will get all 6 issues of one year for free
For sponsorships of N$ 1000.00 per issue – the logo of the company or name of the person that support PAKO will be printed on the backside of the magazine.
How can people participate to this project?
First at all we are looking for more sponsors; companies, individuals, anybody that want to support our mission: help children learn about animals and nature and develop caring and understanding relationships.
The other way someone can be involved with PAKO is to go out to the schools and to talk to them about what we do, about SPCA for example.
It doesn’t help if I’m just doing the magazine and just sending out; we need to approach more to the kids.
If someone wants to participate they can contact me thought: firstname.lastname@example.org
When did you first fall in love with animals? And could you please give some advice to readers regarding their animals
I fall in love with animals since I was born. As long I can remember I love them. I grow up with animals, so I learned from the very beginning to love and respect them.
My advice for the readers is; make sure your animals have food, some water, some shade during summer, and a warm place in winter and medical care if needed. Sometimes, people don’t realize that animals are also getting hot in summer and they are frizzing on winter – so, please just take care of your animals; they can teach you and your kids so many things.
If you have to describe your experience with PAKO Kids Magazine in just one phrase, what would you say?
The best phrase that I heard from a kid was; “My heart just turn around when I start reading PAKO” – for me that was amazing.
Could you please describe in just one word the feeling of this project?
Exciting – When I’m at the old age home, I will know that I tried to change something, some small thing in this society for animals and nature.