Katie Virun, LCF Education Manager, has gathered a number of fun activities for families to learn about lemurs during this challenging time when many of you are at home during the coronavirus pandemic. The free materials from our Ako Program, made possible through generous support from Nature’s Path EnviroKidz, are just the thing to educate, entertain, and help pass the time for all ages. Descriptions and links are provided below.
Who is Ako?
Ako, Malagasy for “echo,” is pronounced Ah-koo. He’s the main character in LCF’s first children’s book, “Ako the Aye-Aye,” by the late primatologist Dr. Alison Jolly. His story evolved into a series of six books about additional lemur species, and, then, LCF’s conservation education program for Kindergarten to 5th grade.
You can learn all kinds of fascinating facts about the aye-aye and other lemur species through our conservation education materials and activities. Plus, our website provides lots of information about the 17 endangered species that LCF works to protect at our reserve in Florida and on the ground in Madagascar.
Are you ready to get started? Enjoy! If you have any questions about the Ako Program or the materials, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep the kids learning with lemur lesson plans
No one has to be bored at home thanks to these engaging activities that can be completed with objects and supplies found around the house. Parents are encouraged to get engaged with their young learners and dive deep into the world of lemurs. Each Ako lesson aligns with a suggested grade level (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-5th) and one or more of seven environmental themes.
- Looking at Lemurs—Classification and Biodiversity
- Exploring Lemur Habitats
- Investigating Lemur Adaptations
- Discovering Lemur Communities—Ecology and Inter-dependence
- Learning About Lemur Life—Life Cycles and Behavior
- Madagascar’s People and Places
- Making a Difference for Lemurs
Take a look at LCF’s Educator’s Guide
Are you a parent, teacher, or trivia enthusiast? Impress your kids with facts about Madagascar’s stone forests. Learn to say “hello” in Malagasy. Discover how big the giant sloth lemur used to be.
Interact with lemur habitat posters
Grab the kids and see if you can find all the plants and animals listed at the bottom of each of the six posters. Click each poster to view or download for FREE.
Listen to a lemur story
Follow along as we read “No-Song the Indri.” This beautifully illustrated children’s book is sure to inspire a love for Madagascar’s largest living species of lemur: the Indri! After listening to the story, use “Am I Like a Lemur?” activities and worksheets to continue learning, and compare your hands to a life-sized drawing of an Indri’s hand.
Become lemur researchers
Prevent boredom with LCF’s Lemur Ethogram activity. Young learners will discover by watching the video that observing animal behavior is not as easy as it seems.
Help EnviroKidz save the planet
Gather the family together to watch “EnviroKidz Save the Planet,” filmed at our reserve in Florida. Meet some of our lemurs, and Katie Virun, LCF Education Manager. Learn and be inspired to do your part to make a positive difference for endangered lemurs.
Play a game about animals
Challenge your kids to a game of “Animal Fact or Fiction.” This free lesson plan will get your young learners excited to research a variety of animals that have been the subject of myths and taboos. Cultures around the world often base their view about animals on folk tales which can influence conservation efforts. Below are some folk tales surrounding lemurs in Madagascar.
In Madagascar, the Indri is known as babakoto which means “little father” or “ancestor of man.” One story tells of two brothers who lived together in the forest until one decided to leave and cultivate the land. That brother became the first human and the brother who stayed in the forest became the first Indri. Today the Indri cries in mourning for his brother who left. Locals believe Indri resemble the ancestors, so they are revered and protected from hunting in some areas.
Another Indri legend tells of a man who went hunting in the forest and did not return. His absence worried his son, who went out looking for him. When the son also disappeared, the rest of the villagers ventured into the forest seeking the two but discovered only two large lemurs sitting in the trees: the first Indri. They are traditionally treated as a sacred animal and protected from harm due to these legends that establish a close relationship between Indri and humans.
The odd physical characteristics of the aye-aye often inspire fear in Madagascar. These strange looking lemurs have wide orange eyes, large ears, catlike faces, elongated fingers, and rat-like front teeth. It’s easy to see why there are many local taboos surrounding the aye-aye. Today the appearance of an aye-aye in some regions of Madagascar is seen as an omen of death, sickness and bad luck.
Some believe that if an aye-aye is seen in a village, someone in the village will die. Some even believe that aye-ayes break into houses murdering the occupants with their elongated finger. Sadly, some island residents have responded by killing aye-ayes whenever they see them, due to fears and beliefs. In truth, the strange characteristics of aye-ayes are adaptations that help them survive.