Pajareros del Humedal la Bramadora

Group 28

Location: Colombia, South America


Partnership: Greening Communities


Language: English, Spanish


Format: Community Outreach, Curriculum Development


Audience: Policymakers, School Leaders, Teachers

Meet the teacherLinks

Mariela Velásquez Granados

Mariela is a chemical engineer and a teacher in a high school in a little town called “La Puerta” in Antioquia, Colombia. She has been a teacher for five years and works with children between the ages of twelve and sixteen years old. She teaches Maths, Science, Spanish, English and Art, and enjoys her work. She loves writing and reading poetry and literature; She also loves to draw birds. Mariela became a teacher because she wanted to help young people understand how to make the world better and develop their skills; she always try to be better for her students.

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Mariella and her students live near a protected wetland site called ‘La Bramadora’. This unique ecosystem is important for the three nearby municipalities as it provides urban cooling and is also home to many species of plants and animals. The Pajareros del Humedal la Bramadora project seeks to encourage members of the local La Puerta community, especially children and young people, to care for and protect life in the wetland, emphasising the importance of birds for biodiversity and the wetland within the cultural identity of the community, which is predominantly made up of people of African descent.

Theory of Change

The wetland is in danger of being degraded as it is not well protected. Mariella identified that none of her students or members of the wider community had a sense of belonging to the wetland so actions were focused on promoting this sense of belonging and placing the wetland within the cultural identity of the community.

Approach and Actions

The project involved students from Santa Teresita Normal Superior School where Mariella teaches. During the project, the students learned about the importance of birds in maintaining biodiversity in the wetland. Specific tasks were designed to teach students about the birds including identifying different bird species.

An integrated school and community approach was fostered with a group of student and community leaders being established to lead the project. The project evolved to include many activities including; tours of the wetland at different points in the project; community meetings to learn about the wetland and its birds; a beginner bird watchers group being established; bird species being allocated to individual students for monitoring purposes; the development of characterisation and taxonomic classification sheets for each allocated bird; the integration of different school subject curricula into the project; tree planting days; waste collection days; and participation in various events to publicise and celebrate the project, including organising the First Bird Festival in the La Puerta neighbourhood. Mariella felt that the project allowed students to apply their knowledge of different subjects in the local context while protecting the wetland and strengthening the cultural identity of the community.


The students in the project have improved their relationship with their environment and have managed to identify and characterize some of the bird species in the territory; they have also developed their own identities and now see themselves and the La Puerta community as ‘Afro-descendants who are guardians of the La Bramadora wetland’ they are also proud to have become real bird watchers. Regarding climate change, the students have acquired knowledge in the care and preservation of the strategic ecosystem; also acquiring social, emotional and scientific skills as well. There has also been recognition of the importance of the wetland as a strategic ecosystem in the region among different members of the wider community.

The project was also awarded the Teachers for Life Award from the Department of Antioquia in Colombia and the Humming for Change Wildlife Award from the British Embassy in Colombia.