When elementary visitors arrived, they were given an introduction to the rainforest and divided into small groups that rotated through each station of the rainforest. ESA students explained rainforest issues, identified rainforest species, identified organisms that live at each layer of the ecosystem, taught the children how to plant new plants in the rainforest, and talked about rainforest-related careers. At the final station the children could interact with live parrots, a snake, and fish of the rainforest. Finally, with the help of ESA students, the elementary visitors wrote a letter to the World Wildlife Fund. When the children saw their letters go into a stamped envelope they realized their voices could make a difference in the world.
Peer teaching was a powerful learning tool for ESA students. To prepare their instructional presentations for elementary students, ESA students completed a three-day experiential training to learn team building skills. They also worked with the language arts instructor to learn how to organize the information for their presentations and make it age-appropriate for the elementary level. The project required ESA students not only to acquire factual knowledge but also to hone their presentation skills, learn how to facilitate discussion and field questions, and meet the challenges of addressing a young audience.