Today was the first day of the Global Reef Expedition in the Solomon Islands. The weather was perfect for both research and education. There was essentially no wind today. Looking over the side of the boat was like looking through a window to the underwater world of a coral reef. I could see corals, sea stars, fish, and many other animals carrying out their daily routine on the reef.
To administer the education program, I went on shore with Ivory Akao, a Fisheries Officer with the Ministry of Fisheries and Natural Resources. Together we will carry out a coral reef seminars to school and community groups throughout the Solomon Islands. In the Santa Cruz Islands, Ocean Watch will join our education team.
Today we went to Munda Village, which is in the New Georgia Island group. We were warmly welcomed to the Solomon Islands. Our first education seminar took place at Dunde Community High School. Hundreds of smiling elementary and secondary school kids gathered outside under a shaded patio. They patiently waited to begin the program.
As part of the traditional protocol, the principal of the school, Marle Bisili, introduced us to his students.
He explained, “This information about coral reefs is really important for us to learn. We rely on these resources every day.”
In the seminar we teach where corals exist, what is a coral, the coral reef food web, and the benefits and threats to these marine ecosystems. The students were enthralled by the beautiful photographs and video footage that gave them a glimpse of the underwater world of coral reefs.
After the seminar one of the teachers said, “This information is a good review for the student’s final exam. These students have already learned about food webs and it will be a topic they will be tested on. Soon, they will also start learning about marine ecosystems.”
Our first day conducting education programs was a success. We can’t wait to talk to more school groups and communities.
Photos: 1-3 Amy Heemsoth