How To Teach Environment Conservation To Preschoolers?


Crikey, Irwin’s Mission Lives On Through Children

(MS) — Steve Irwin once said he considered conservation to be the most important part of his work: “I consider myself a wildlife warrior. My mission is to save the world’s endangered species.”

He spent his life living up to the “wildlife warrior” badge. Irwin was an animal expert and larger-than-life character who garnered worldwide adoration from adults and children alike. Together with his wife Terri, he owned and operated Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, a role and passion he shared with his young children, Bindi and Robert.

Best known for his exuberant personality and signature catchphrases, at the heart of Irwin’s enthusiasm was a genuine love for animals. In September of 2006, Irwin lost his life from a stingray strike doing what he enjoyed most, interacting with and educating about exotic species of animals.

Few can fill Steve Irwin’s shoes, but there are a number of people who are continuing his animal activism, including his daughter and fellow cohorts and the “wildlife warriors” of Australia Zoo. At his funeral service, daughter Bindi expressed her love and pride for Dad and his animal mission, saying that he was her hero. She plans to continue in his footsteps to educate others about endangered species.

“I know that Daddy had an important job. He was working to change the world so everyone would love wildlife as he did. He built a hospital to help animals and he bought lots of lands to give animals a safe place to live …” said Bindi in her eulogy. “I don’t want Daddy’s passion to ever end. I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did.”

Eight-year-old Bindi is a shining example of how children can play an important role in preserving the environment and caring for the animals that inhabit the world. Here are a few ways any child can get involved:

– Learn about and respect neighborhood animals:

Kids can observe the animals that frequent their yards and communities and research their characteristics. They can keep “field journals” and note differences in actions based on seasons or time of day. This will help them to understand their importance in the circle of life and be less likely to inadvertently harm or disturb their nests, roosts, or dens.

– Be caring of the environment:

Children should learn how their actions can impact the globe. They can be taught the benefit of recycling and not to waste energy (turning off the lights in unused rooms). They can even pioneer clubs at school with an environmental/educational purpose.

– Play with educational toys:

The Wild Republic, the nature toy brand of K&M International, presents a special line of toys and collector item series based on Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. The nature-themed toys are designed to educate children about the wonders of the wild through creative play. The line features approximately 39 different products, including various sized plush, playsets, and action figures — including Steve Irwin himself — some of which have been sold in Australia Zoo’s retail outlets for the past year. You will even hear the actual voice of Irwin on some of the products, recorded exclusively for the collectible line. All royalties from toy sales received by Australia Zoo will go directly to its endangered species programs. To learn more about this series of educational toys, visit www.wildrepublic.com.

– Make nature a part of outings and recreation:

Whether a day at the beach or a vacation to another city or country, make exploring nature as much a part of the schedule as looking for landmarks and sampling the local cuisine. Pack along with binoculars with your camera and bathing suit.

“Steve had a gift and an amazing ability to inspire and educate children about conservation and wildlife,” said Wes Mannion, Director of Australia Zoo. “We hope to continue Steve’s mission by engaging and exciting children’s passion for wildlife and the environment.”

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