West Coast Two Oceans marine outreach programme
Learners will get a taste of the ocean as a fully equipped mobile aquarium toured the local primary schools during the week of 25 to 29 July 2016. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) partnered with The Two Oceans Aquarium to roll out a special marine outreach programme for selected schools in the West Coast region, focusing in the Piketberg area.
The programme is based on the understanding that many rural schools don’t have enough resources and access to the facilities offered by the Two Oceans Aquarium. Activities include taking live animals to the rural schools in a custom designed vehicle in an effort to make quality education possible.
The programme aims to teach primary school learners the importance of our oceans, marine life as well as careers in biodiversity and coastal management.
Carmen van Uys, Environmental Officer at DEADP said that “the aim is to reach under-resourced schools with a mobile aquarium facility, offering the children an unforgettable marine education experience.”
A total of 5 schools will be participating and the programme is aimed at learners in grades 2 to 7, as the lesson content is aligned with their Natural Science CAPS curriculum. More than 1 000 learners will get to experience the mobile aquarium where they’ll be able to see and touch sea stars, sea urchins and sea anemones.
The programme teaches learners how these little creatures are adapted to their rocky pool environments and how the effects of pollution affect them – no matter how far one is away from the ocean.
It also provides an opportunity to address the issue of litter reduction, how it ends up on our beaches and the effects on our marine animals. The discussions provided them with concrete actions they can take up to help the marine environment and it places a strong emphasis on the pupils taking the exploration further if they get to visit any beaches over weekends or holidays, while also encouraging them to share the information with friends and family.
Through this partnership DEADP and the Two Oceans Aquarium aims to engage learners in coastal management issues as well as create a greater sense of awareness and appreciation for our sea animals and marine environment and the need to protect our oceans and resources for future generations.