A joint venture between a UK based conservation charity (World Land Trust) and the government department for overseas aid (Department For International Development) has resulted in an exciting new interactive website, www.focusonforests.org , aimed at kids aged 11-14 (national curriculum key stage 3). The site contains a wealth of information for conservationists young and old.
Bill Oddie, the charismatic birder, is also a rainforest fanatic, and he will launch the site at the Rainforest café in London. A group of teenagers from Halesworth Middle School, in East Anglia, who provided feedback and criticism during the development of the site are also coming to London for the occasion.
The Focus on Forests website was created by Peter Taylor, a Liverpool University graduate, who joined the WLT team last summer as its first full-time web designer. Armed with a degree in Zoology and a passion for computers, Peter created this educational internet site with funding from DFID, from a text researched and written by Jill Brand, a specialist conservation educator. The web site is easy to use and attractive, guiding the user through the concepts of sustainable forestry as well as the consequences of losing biodiversity. There is detailed data about rates of forest destruction, but it isn't all doom and gloom as the site is full of examples of good forest management practices. Colourful maps and images bring the website to life and Peter's leafy graphics and navigation buttons makes surfing the site all the more enjoyable to explore.
The site is a starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about conserving tropical forests. It has numerous links to other sites for more detailed research, and hyperlinks explain many of the words and concepts that might be unfamiliar to the user.
Rainforest Cafe (Shaftesbury Avenue, London) have generously provided the venue for the launch of www.focusonforests.org. The event takes place 11am on 31 March with refreshments available. (Admittance strictly by invitation only). A CD ROM of the website will be available on the day.
The World Land Trust (WLT) has helped protect over 300,000 acres of the world's most biologically important and threatened habitats spread globally in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines and the UK. For more information visit our website www.worldlandtrust.org or call 01986 874 422.
The Department For International Development (DFID) is the UK government department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty with a strong commitment on the reversal of environmental degradation. For more information visit their website www.dfid.gov.uk or call 0845 300410.