The Lemur Conservation Foundation is proud to nourish the minds of children across the world and inspire them to take action to help protect Madagascar’s primates. During this time when 98% of over 100 lemur species are at risk for extinction, the future of these animals may seem bleak. However, we encourage you to take a look through the eyes of children who have the energy and unwavering determination to create real change. We are inspired by the power of kids. They are ready to create a better future for lemurs. Not tomorrow, but today.
It’s a delicate balance to teach children about the overwhelming problems that lemurs face in a way that inspires kids to affect change instead of scaring them into hopelessness. The Ako Conservation Education Program has been an invaluable tool to empower kids to make the world a better place. This conservation education program includes 21 hands-on lemur themed activities that correlate to six, colorful children’s books called The Ako Series written by Alison Jolly. The books and lesson plans are wonderful tools to introduce kids to the world of lemurs, foster an appreciation for the natural world, and give them the skills to address conservation issues in an age-appropriate manner.
What have we learned since launching the Ako Program? Kids overwhelmingly understand and support our mission. You don’t have to take it from us, read below to see how the Ako Program is making a big impact.
“For letting me read your books and thank you for letting me look at the pictures. If I could read any more of your books because I like lemurs. My favorite story is Bounce the White Sifaka.
Pictured: A character named “Bounce” from one of the Ako Series books clinging to the stone spikes of the tsingy forest in Madagascar.
“Thank you for letting us look at the books and the favorite one I like is No-Song the Indri. The lemurs are cool. Madagascar is cool.”
Pictured: A character named “No-Song” from one of the Ako Series books opening her mouth wide to sing loudly in the forest.
Pictured: Student artwork depicting slash-and-burn agriculture in Madagascar with an “x” drawn over the fire. This devastating farming practice destroys large areas of primary forest and essential lemur habitat.
Pictured: One student named Judith painted a variety of unique lemur species. One of Madagascar’s greatest treasures is its exceptional biodiversity. Over 90% of its plants and animals can only be found in Madagascar.
One of LCF’s educational goals is not only to teach students about lemurs but to inspire them to share what they have learned. We are immensely grateful to the students who have reached out for more information about lemurs to share with their classmates, schools, and communities. Take a peek at some students that went above and beyond all our expectations.
Pictured: Student Henry gave a presentation to his class about lemurs using information gathered by chatting with one of our lemur keepers at LCF. His teacher and classmates were blown away, and at the end when Henry asked if there were any questions or comments, nearly every student raised their hand. His enthusiasm and dedication has inspired countless students at his school.
“I think you can help us with our project by giving us more and more information. Thank you for all you do.”
Pictured: These three young ladies gathered information from LCF about the plight of lemurs and were inspired to make a difference. They sold hand-made key chains crafted from recycled t-shirts and donated the funds to help lemurs at LCF.
An entire class of 5th graders called to ask insightful questions for their exhibition project titled “Save the Lemurs!” LCF provided their school with an Ako Conservation Education Kit, and the students effectively used the materials to present conservation themes to their classmates.
“Dear LCF, thank you for your help in our exhibition project (Save the lemurs!). You have been such a great help by the Ako Kit and being able to have a conversation with us over the phone. This project would not be as great if we didn’t have your help!”
Even our youngest learners like Nora have been inspired by the lemurs at LCF.
Pictured: Student Nora and a ring-tailed lemur on a sunny Florida day. We believe that the flowers, hearts, and rainbow all express her new-found love for lemurs and hope for a brighter future in the years to come.
We are continually surprised by the ability of children to turn inspiration into meaningful action. These young conservation heroes are working to help lemurs any way they can. They should be proud to know that every dollar raised has helped lemurs here at the reserve in Florida, and halfway around the world in Madagascar.
“Dear lemurs, you are my favorite animal. There is my Christmas money so you can buy more raisins. Love, Bellz”
“Hi, I sold orange juice to make money to help lemurs because I like them. Here is my donation. From Jett. I am 7.”
“I am about to enter fifth grade and I love lemurs more every day. And I am attaching my first of many donations to this letter along with my logo which will be on t-shirts and hats and other things that I will be selling to my neighbors and friends and online. My first donation of 50 dollars is from my allowance but I will be sending more as people buy some of the lemur things I make. Sincerely, Oliver”
Pictured: Oliver’s Lemur Fund hand-drawn logo
“All of our money is going to be donated to helping save the lemurs. Lemurs ‘n’ Popsicles”
Clark’s wish for his birthday this year was for his friends and family to support a cause he cares greatly about. With the help of his big sister Emelia, Clark successfully held a popsicle fundraiser during his birthday party to make money to help save lemurs. His empathy and compassion inspired his dad Josh to start a fundraiser on Facebook for those who could not purchase a popsicle in person. This team effort led to over $400 raised for lemur conservation!
We love the idea of kids taking action to help animals, especially through art. LCF has art as part of its mission statement, and we utilize art to build awareness about and inspire action to protect endangered lemurs and their habitat. Check out some art projects these students have sent us:
Pictured: These paper mâché sculptures were made by KHARTS (Kids Helping through the Arts). Each sculpture was crafted by Diego, Isabella, and Sofia by reusing plastic bags and cardboard. They donated all 10 of these beautiful sculptures for LCF to auction off to raise funds for lemurs.
Habitat is critical for lemurs to thrive in Madagascar, and we love seeing student art where trees are prominently featured.
Pictured: This student drew a Typhonodorum, which is a type of tropical plant native to Madagascar. There are many unique plants as well as animals in Madagascar.
Pictured: Ring-tailed lemur painted by Florida student. Local teaching artist Kat Sjogren used the versatile Ako Program materials to teach students about lemurs during her art classes.
The power of kids is made possible by the power of strong partnerships. The success of the Ako Program truly would not have been possible without continued support from Nature’s Path EnviroKidz. Every time you buy Envirokidz products, 1% of the sales are donated to support endangered species, habitat restoration, and environmental education for kids worldwide! Families can choose to support LCF by purchasing Nature’s Path Envirokidz Leapin’ Lemurs Cereal. Together, we can save lemurs one breakfast at a time.
Leeanna enjoying a bowl of Leapin’ Lemurs cereal.
Elementary school student receives an Ako Series book and paper lemur mask thanks to funding by Nature’s Path EnviroKidz
The LCF team is strengthened by these passionate young learners. We are encouraged and inspired every day by the letters and pictures we receive. It is very clear to us here at LCF that you are never too little to make a big difference.