Introducing a New Teacher’s Guide: “Ecosystems of The Bahamas”

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We are thrilled to announce that our partners, Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS), have launched Ecosystems of The Bahamas, the newest teacher’s guide highlighting the Bahamian environment. Designed for use in high school classrooms, Ecosystems of The Bahamas contains background information, labs, and classroom activities that comprehensively cover the major Bahamian ecosystems, highlighting key species, ecosystem services, threats, and conservation measures. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is proud that a couple of our lesson plans on mangrove forests are included in this teacher’s guide, which will be used in high school science classrooms across the country.

Discovering Coral Bleaching: An Interactive Coloring Journey

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In the wake of the devastating mass bleaching events that swept across the northern hemisphere’s coral reefs during the scorching summer of 2023, the importance of coral reef education has never been more important. As students settle into their academic routines, the critical issue of coral bleaching has risen to the forefront of environmental concerns in these regions. In response to this need, we are excited to introduce the dedicated section on coral bleaching from our Reefs at Risk Activity and Coloring Book. While the entire book is a work in progress, we’ve recognized the urgency of educating students about coral bleaching and have chosen to release the book in sections to provide timely information and engage young minds in this pressing matter…

Nurturing Innovation and Community Connection at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station

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In the heart of Moorea Island in French Polynesia, a recent workshop at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station set the stage for a potentially transformative endeavor. Hosted by Gump Station, this gathering was dedicated to fostering a dynamic collaboration between scientists and the local community. The goal? To inform the creation of an ‘Innovation Hub’ that bridges the gap between research and the people it ultimately serves.

The event brought together over 30 people from around the world with an interest in working with the environment and people of French Polynesia. Participants included an eclectic mix of scientists, funders, representatives from nonprofit and community outreach organizations, and prominent members of the local community. The Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer, Liz Thompson, attended and shared some ideas about what the Innovation Hub could be and how it could be structured to benefit both the people and the marine environment of Moorea. The workshop succeeded in bringing together diverse minds united by a shared passion for combining science and outreach for conservation…

Coral Bleaching

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Coral reef bleaching has been in the headline news this past summer, as it was the hottest three-month period on record. As ocean temperatures soared to 32°C (90°F) around the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, coral reefs were way past their temperature threshold and started to bleach. But what happens when a coral bleaches?

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon that occurs when coral polyps expel the symbiotic (mutually beneficial) algae called zooxanthellae from their tissues, causing the corals to lose their color and turn white or pale. These algae provide the corals with essential nutrients through photosynthesis and contribute to their vibrant colors. When coral polyps expel the zooxanthellae, it not only leads to the loss of color but also affects the overall health and survival of the coral reefs…

Community Outreach in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape

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A key component of the United Nations Endorsed Project Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics is outreach and community engagement. During the joint outreach and fieldwork campaign with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) and Pacific Blue Foundation (PBF), four villages were visited in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape. Community engagement and outreach are both important cultural practices for the Chief’s blessing and permission to work on the reef surrounding the villages, but they are also important for visiting scientists to gain valuable local knowledge about the nearshore ecosystem. The final component of the outreach program was to teach several local community members the survey methods for collecting coral reef transect data.

The lagoon is surrounded by several villages, each with its own unique character and traditions. The KSLOF and PBF team worked with four of these communities: Naisomo, Raviravi, Rukua, and Yunuca. The most important first step for community engagement in the Fijian islands is meeting with the head Chief and other community elders to receive permission to work in the waters near to their village. The meeting is called a sevu sevu. The sevu sevu must be done before any work in the water or on shore is started. It is considered extremely disrespectful if this cultural practice is not followed by outside visitors.

During the meeting with the Chief and his advisors, it is customary to partake in a ceremonial drink called kava. It is traditionally prepared by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder, straining it, and mixing it with cold water in a large bowl called a tanoa. Tanoas are carved out of a native hardwood and often have designs to reflect the history of the village. The kava mixture is then poured and drunk out of a bilo, which are small cups carved from coconuts. As the kava is shared amongst the villagers and visitors, the Chief asks what the purpose of the visit is and how it will benefit the community.

Unite for Nature

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is proud to have worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to help them launch a groundbreaking member magazine, ‘Unite for Nature.’ This publication is set to serve as a vital platform for IUCN members to share their conservation stories, showcase achievements, and foster a united sense of purpose within the global conservation community.

Named ‘Unite for Nature,’ the magazine embodies the shared vision of IUCN and its members to work collectively towards a just world that values and preserves nature. Through its pages, the magazine will highlight past successes, ongoing initiatives, and plans for the future of conservation. It will draw upon the extensive and diverse environmental network that constitutes the Union of the IUCN, showcasing the vital role of its members in this collaborative effort.

The Living Oceans Foundation takes immense pride in our IUCN membership. This affiliation serves as a testament to the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to the preservation of our planet’s invaluable natural resources. As a member of IUCN, the Foundation gains access to a dynamic network of like-minded individuals and organizations dedicated to effecting positive change in conservation. Working with IUCN embodies our commitment to conducting Science Without Borders® and working with organizations around the world to safeguard our precious natural heritage for generations to come…

2022-2023 B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. Teacher Spotlight

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Often, we share comments about our B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. programs from the students’ perspectives. This year I would like to highlight our remarkable teachers. Teachers are the backbone of our mangrove education and restoration programs, and their crucial role cannot be overstated. Over the years, we have come to realize that the success of these programs hinges on the teachers’ willingness to embrace and seamlessly integrate them into their classrooms. Their dedication and passion for teaching have enabled us to achieve our goals of educating students about the significance of mangroves and instilling a sense of conservation in them.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the teachers who have been part of our programs, both the veterans who have been with us since the beginning and the new members who have recently joined our educational family. It is their incredible commitment that empowers us to make a lasting impact on the lives of students and cultivate a future generation that will protect and preserve our precious mangroves. It’s time to meet and celebrate our dedicated B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. teachers who make a significant difference every day!

J.A.M.I.N. Student Voices

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Throughout the B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. programs, we evaluate each program by surveying students in each of the three phases of the mangrove education and restoration process. We use this information to gauge how much information the students initially know regarding mangroves and their attitudes toward them before we begin the programs. After we start the programs, we continue to survey the students. This data helps us to determine whether our education programs are effective and whether we know our audience. It also allows us to measure how much knowledge is retained and whether their attitudes and actions about mangroves change as they continue through the program.

During the final survey, we ask the students for their input about the program. We want to know things such as: How we can improve the program; What was their favorite part of the program; and What did they learn from participating in the program?

One of my favorite things to do after the programs have ended is to read the students’ written responses. Below you will find select responses to the final survey. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!