Since its creation one of REGUA's main objectives has been to develop an environmental awareness programme that involves all communities located in the Guapiaçu River catchment area. The aim is to awaken the desire for conservation of the remnants of the Atlantic Forest in the region, by promoting knowledge and recognition of its invaluable biological value and its environmental services.
The Environmental Education Programme (EA) at REGUA began in 2004 with frequent visits to schools located in the area local to the Reserve along the Guapiaçu River. One of the first topics presented to children and young people was related to predatory hunting and its harm to the biodiversity of their local environment.
The Environmental Education Programme is divided into four parts, namely:
· School Visits
· Baby Nature Program;
· Young Guards Program;
· Sou(L) Program;
It is important to point out that regardless of the Environmental Education programme presented, the local community included and invited to be present as an audience for all REGUA's actions. The strengthening of dialogue with communities occurs through the Environmental Education actions, which include the construction of strategies for the active participation of residents in all our activities. Through dialogue with the community, collective actions can be taken to help solve the region's environmental problems.
(...) Contact with nature improves all the most important milestones of a healthy childhood – immunity, memory, sleep, learning capacity, sociability, physical capacity – and has contributed significantly to the overall well-being of children and young people. Evidence shows that the benefits are mutual: just as children and adolescents need nature, nature needs children and young people.
(Children and Nature Program and Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, 2019)