SGLT President, Lou Ann Dietz, selected as PEN’s Educator of the Month!

Lou Ann Dietz has over 40 years of pioneering conservation field experience in Brazil and other countries in Latin America. Thirty years ago, in 1983, she established a community-based environmental education program in Brazil – the first of its kind in the country!  She coordinated a survey to identify people’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors concerning the golden lion tamarin in the municipalities of Rio de Janeiro State where this tiny and endangered primate is endemic. She discovered that very few people could identify the golden lion tamarin in a picture and that they didn’t know that this primate’s declining status was connected with deforestation in the region. Those who could identify the tamarin valued it for its beauty and said that it made them happy when they saw it. These results indicated that the golden lion tamarin could be promoted as a flagship species for Atlantic Forest conservation. Her efforts have been instrumental in contributing to the golden lion tamarin becoming a national symbol for conservation in Brazil.

Lou Ann worked in partnership with Brazilian primatologists to understand the biology and ecology of the golden lion tamarin. The information provided during educational activities was always based on scientific data gathered from the field.  Over time, Lou Ann’s team documented significant increases in knowledge about the tamarin and the forest, as well as positive changes in attitudes and behaviors. Her education model inspired many conservation programs in Brazil, and she has been instrumental in training and empowering over 100 Brazilian educators to lead the program.

In her capacity as the President and Founding Director of Save the Golden Lion Tamarin and as a member of the Golden Lion Tamarin Association’s (Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado) Board of Directors, Lou Ann continues her involvement with primate educators in Brazil. She also serves as an elected member of the International Committee for Conservation and Management of Lion Tamarins, an official advisory group to the Brazilian government.

Find out more about Lou Ann's work at the Primate Education Network's website