A San Francisco elementary school teacher is spending her summer in Madagascar.

Patti Riesling
KCBS 740 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A San Francisco elementary school teacher is spending her summer in Madagascar studying one of the most critically endangered primates in the world, hoping to bring her experience in the rain forest into the classroom this fall. Dierdre Fitzgerald is studying lemurs.

“There are 51 species of lemurs that live in this country, and all of them are facing a huge threat from slash and burn agriculture,” said Fitzgerald.

Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the nonprofit organization “Fund for Teachers,” Fitzgerald is in the midst of a scientific expedition looking specifically into the silky Sifaka lemurs’ eating habits.

Fitzgerald is taking photos and video while in Madagascar to show her third-grade students at Tenderloin Elementary in the hopes of vividly illustrating some pretty lofty themes.

“It’s very difficult to have 8-year-olds understand some of these concepts of bio-diversity and adaptation, and the kinds of situations that animals face in their ecosystems,” said Fitzgerald.

Listen to Patti Riesling’s interview of FFT Fellow, Dierdre Fitzgerald.

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