We be J.A.M.I.N. Again!

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I see the twinkle of anticipation in my colleagues’ eyes as they hold up their phones waiting to record me filling my lungs to say, “Gooooood moooorning, Port Antonio High School!” My colleagues at Alligator Head Foundation beam and I grin back at them and wink. We have all waited two and a half years for this moment. This long-awaited welcome officially marks the start of the Jamaica Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) and it feels good to be J.A.M.I.N. again.

The last time I was in Jamaica implementing J.A.M.I.N. was in early February 2020, before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. When the pandemic hit, none of us imagined that it would be years until we could implement the program again. It crushed me when we had to cancel the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year and then again, the following year. Now, we renew program again with more enthusiasm than ever.

Our partners at the Alligator Head Foundation and the University of the West Indies Discovery Bay Marine Lab are by my side aiding me in implementing the program. I couldn’t be more overjoyed to be working with them again. We fell right back into routine with each other as if no time had passed at all.

EDUCATION NEWSLETTER: New Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum Units – Conservation

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Dear Educators,

In the last newsletter, we shared information about our new curriculum unit about food webs. As promised, we are thrilled to be able to share an important new unit with you about ocean conservation. This unit contains background information, two Watch It! worksheets, four comprehensive activities, and a Read It! worksheet. Please see the graphic for more detailed information about each.

Around the world ocean conservation efforts vary, but perhaps one of the most effective ways to protect the ocean is by establishing a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The path to creating an MPA is not always the same. The four activities in this unit (Lessons 1A-1D) illustrate one path that can lead to the creation of an MPA. In these activities, students will actively participate in the process of creating and managing an MPA. Students will not only learn about these processes, but they will also gain a deeper knowledge of the disruptions to ecosystems, the ecological importance and ecosystem services the ocean provides, and the actions that we can take to conserve ecosystems.

Although the activities in this unit are meant to be completed consecutively, as the knowledge builds upon the previous lesson, they can also be used as standalone activities. We also suggest that students work in a group when conducing these activities, but, of course, this may not meet the need of every student.

The Watch It! and Read It! worksheets in this unit aid in teaching the core concepts in Lessons 1A-1D. The Watch It! worksheets, which accompany two different videos about ocean conservation, are a great way to introduce more difficult concepts. In the video titled My Wish, Dr. Sylvia Earle, a world-renowned ocean conservationist, describes her “wish” for protecting the ocean. This video is a great introduction to Hope Spots, which will be presented in Lesson 1A: Explore a Hope Spot, and the scientist who initiated this global ocean conservation campaign, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

The second video, titled Our Living Oceans: Corals and Marine Protected Areas, is a great introduction to MPAs. Students will learn about MPAS and hear from leading experts what is working and what makes them effective. Although this video can be watched at any time, it is especially useful to watch the video before conducting Lesson 1C: Advocate for MPA where students advocate to a stakeholder or group of stakeholders to create an MPA.

The Read It! worksheet is a great way to incorporate English Language Arts into your science classes. The blog associated with this worksheet provides a great example of one method of Māori traditional conservation being conducted in the Cook Islands, located in the South Pacific. The blog is a great way to teach students about the importance of indigenous knowledge and traditional conservation methods.

For more suggestions about how to utilize the activities in this unit, login as an teacher to our Education Portal and download the lesson plans, which contain an overview of suggested ways to implement Lessons 1A-1D and step-by-step instructions on how to conduct each lesson.

Best of luck to you all as you begin your new academic year!

Amy Heemsoth
Director of Education

Coral Conservation: A new episode of “Our Living Oceans” on EarthxTV

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What are marine protected areas, and how can they help protect our coral reefs? Where are they working, and what makes them effective? Find out in the latest episode of “Our Living Oceans,” Coral Conservation, now playing on EarthxTV.

We are all connected to the world’s oceans. The oceans are a critical source of food, income, and even oxygen for the entire planet. Therefore, global threats to the health of these oceans are something that affects us all.

In this episode, we talk to the world’s leading experts on marine conservation, including those who participated in our Global Reef Expedition, about the importance of marine protected areas (MPAs) and how they are used to preserve coral reefs—before it is too late.

Conservation in New Caledonia

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The conservation efforts of New Caledonia are some of the most progressive we’ve seen in the South Pacific. There is a clear commitment from the government, Provinces, and local communities to conserve their marine resources. One way of doing this was through the establishment of Le Parc Naturel de la Mer de Corail. This park was designated to protect the natural and cultural heritage of New Caledonia, enforce sustainable use of its marine resources, and develop an internationally recognized marine conservation area that will contribute to the conservation of marine habitats globally.

What can be done to save coral reefs?

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This Earth Day, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is focusing on the coral reef crisis and what can be done to save coral reefs. The Foundation embarked on the Global Reef Expedition and nearly circumnavigated the globe studying coral reef health and resiliency. What we found gives us hope that despite finding evidence of human impacts everywhere we went, there are concrete actions people can take that can help reefs recover. 

The Global Reef Expedition: A mission to assess the health of coral reefs around the world

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In 2011, scientists from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation set out on a mission to explore the remote coral reefs of the world. An international team of scientists, photographers, videographers and conservationists, as well as local leaders, were assembled to map, characterize, and evaluate coral reefs throughout the western Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They wanted to take a snapshot of the reefs in time, to survey and map the reefs and assess their health before it was too late. 

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

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Previously, you heard the voice of the students in our B.A.M. program. Now it’s time to hear how the students in Jamaica feel about our J.A.M.I.N. program. Year 1 Program   “My favorite part of the J.A.M.I.N. program is when I actually got to …