Emily's Rota Aga Education Project

Help Fund The Rota Aga Education Project!

This project combines environmental education curriculum development and implementation, and scientific study.  The study aims to measure the effectiveness of the curriculum, and to guide local teachers and researchers in further environmental education development and implementation.  The main objectives of the curriculum are to increase identification and knowledge of the critically endangered Mariana crow on the island of Rota.  The curriculum will improve overall ecological literacy, and prepare students for participating in citizen science projects on Rota.  I am a graduate student, environmental educator, and field biologist seeking funding to help offset my research costs.  After many years of applying for funding, the research expenses (over $12,000) are currently being paid off with my personal savings, as my university does not cover my tuition or research expenses.

Why Is This Project So Important Right Now?

This research and environmental education project will help conserve the critically endangered Mariana crow.  The only remaining population is on the island of Rota, in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  It is estimated that only 170 Mariana crows remain in the wild.  There have been no studies on youth knowledge and attitudes towards Aga.  This information gap makes effectual education and outreach difficult.  Recently, the Mariana Islands have suffered considerable damage from typhoons and tropical storms.  Storms can reduce animal populations, and disrupt the school schedule.  My lesson plans and grab-and-go lesson kits can help teachers meet academic standards quickly.
What Will I Be Doing?

I will work with students in the only public elementary school on the island.  I will implement an environmental education curriculum that is focused on ecological literacy, citizen science, and properly identifying the Mariana crow.  My main teaching methods include storytelling and kinetic activities.  My data will be the results of pre- and post-surveys the students take before and after the curriculum.  My project will contribute new scientific data concerning the knowledge and attitudes of children towards Mariana crows.  Ultimately, the results will help educators and conservation workers develop and implement effective education and outreach materials. 

How Will Your Funding Help?

My research on Rota will take 8 weeks on-site.  Travel to Rota, transportation on Rota, and accommodation on Rota are my greatest expenses.  This fund is intended to defray those costs.  The research costs are:

·      $3000- Airfare to and from Rota

·      $2800- Accommodation on Rota

Total:  $5,800

These estimates do not include tax, gas, or food.  Due to Rota’s remoteness, options are very limited.  I have the support of the Rota elementary school, and have received a grant to print the curriculum and distribute necessary curriculum materials on Rota.
I know that these are difficult times for many of us.  Any assistance you can provide is helpful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this page.  As a rural island, Rota does not have access to the educational resources we are accustomed to in the contiguous United States.  Your donation will not only help me accomplish my research, it will help enrich the education of Rota students and the conservation of a very special bird.  Thank you very much for reading this.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions. 

A critically endangered wild Mariana crow on Rota

Me teaching one of the lessons on Rota

The Sinapalo Elementary School on Rota

A map of the Northern Mariana Islands, Rota circled
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Emily Cook 
Alfred, ME
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