Natütama means "everything under the water" in the local Amazon Indian Ticuna language.
The Natutama Foundation is a Colombian NGO working with indigenous communities along the River Amazon near Puerto Narino. Founded in 2005 by three women with a background in environmental studies, Natutama aims to educate local people about how they can protect Amazonian wildlife and habitats while continuing to live and work in the same environment. It also works in schools in some of Colombia's major cities as part of its extensive environmental education programme.
Hand in hand with its educational work, Natutama runs a conservation/wildlife monitoring progamme gathering regular information about wildlife numbers, distribution and trends with the aim of identifying and preventing potential threats. One of the most bio-diverse places on earth, the Amazon is home to many rare and beautiful creatures including river dolphins, turtles and manatees and unique species of plants and trees. The future of both people and wildlife is dependent on the ecosystem continuing to thrive and natural resources being carefully managed. The Natütama research team is made up mainly of fishermen from Puerto Nariño and nearby smaller communities who have a special knowledge of the waterways and local flora and fauna.
The team of educators, most of them young adults themselves, take weekly classes with grades 1-5 in local primary schools using interactive teaching methods and the endangered species wildlife diplomas Natutama has developed for each grade.
The Foundation aims to build on traditional and scientific knowledge to achieve a sustainable use of resources, especially aquatic ecosystems, to ensure quality of life for future generations. Children are the main focus of the programmes, which reach more than twenty communities in the Puerto Narino area. Apart from their work in local schools, educators have set up junior ecology groups and workshops at the Visitor Centre and run a pre-school. Educational work is based on the Waldorf/Rudolf Steiner system and incorporates local artistic traditions, stories and crafts.
Click here for pictures of Natutama Week. The theme was "The River Amazon, Origin and Life" celebrating Natutama's amazing conservation and environmental educational work in the Colombian Amazon.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation organisation is a founding supporter of Natutama and has lots of useful information on its website http://us.whales.org/wdc-in-action/amazon-river-dolphins-colombia-natutama-foundation
Constructed by local villagers using traditional building methods and materials Natutama's Information Centre is the base for its environmental education programme in Puerto Narino in the Colombian Amazon. These natural materials and traditional construction align with Natutama's philosophy of working with nature without harming the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest. But the humid climate causes rapid deterioration and the buildings need regular repairs.
It consists of two buildings, one with displays representing the Beach by Night and the Flooded Forest where visitors can see life-size representations of local animals and Amazon ecosystems and the other a covered area for teaching about protecting the environment with its rich variety of rare plants and animals through play, music, drama and art. Children from communities along the Amazon frontier visit the Centre throughout the year as well as schools from other parts of Colombia and visitors from all over the world interested in learning more about this unique location and how to protect it.
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