Back to School – New Resources Available!

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With so many of you starting the school year, we are delighted to share our new education resources and ongoing programs with you!

We have added two new educational units in our Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum – Food Webs and Conservation. Whether you are a student, teacher, or someone who is interested in the ocean, we invite you to learn more about these topics.

It’s estimated that 25% of all marine life spend some part of their life cycle on coral reefs. Learn about the complex feeding connections of the coral reef food web and how disruptions can threaten its stability.

This unit includes detailed background information to help learners understand the topic area, an engaging educational video with an accompanying worksheet, a five-part lesson plan that helps learners visualize food chains and food webs by building models, two Read It! worksheets that accompanies blogs written by our scientists, and an online quiz that assesses concepts learned throughout the unit.

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. In this unit, learn about the processes that can lead to the creation of an MPA, while also gaining 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.

The unit consists of background information, two engaging educational videos that have accompanying worksheets, four group activities that allows students to actively participate in the process of creating and managing an MPA, and a Read It! worksheet that incorporates English Language Arts into the classroom.

And if you missed the announcement, our 2023 Science Without Borders® Challenge is now open. The theme for this year’s contest is “The Sixth Extinction.” Now more than ever before in human history, the rate of extinction and species endangerment is accelerating due to harmful human activities. For this year’s contest, you can help create awareness about marine endangered species. We ask that you create a piece of artwork that highlights the beauty and importance of a marine species that is on the brink of extinction.

All entries must be received by Monday, March 6, 2023, to be eligible to win the contest.

To learn more about the Science Without Borders® Challenge rules and how to apply, visit www.lof.org/SWBChallenge.

We hope that you enjoy our new educational resources!

Meet the Interns: Janelle Levine

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Have you ever dreamt of working with corals? Our interns here at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation are making it happen. Meet Janelle, our newest communications intern. Read on to see how she made her way to us!

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have a very non-traditional background, and made my way to the Living Oceans Foundation in a pretty roundabout way. My undergraduate degree is actually in philosophy with a focus in philosophy of science.

After graduating into the recession of 2008, one of my first jobs was at a scuba shop. I had never been scuba diving and was hired to help with swim lessons, but quickly found myself partaking in the scuba classes, as well. I spent a number of years helping with scuba classes, as well as diving recreationally and volunteering in an aquarium. As part of my job at the dive shop, I would often play the ‘victim’ in scuba rescue classes, meaning the scuba instructor would find me a spot underwater, and I would sit still in the shallow water, waiting for the rescue students to recover me. This was where I really fell in love with the underwater world – sitting still in calm silence for up to 45 minutes, breathing steadily through my regulator, looking up at the sun shining through the kelp at the surface of the water. If you are still enough, the animals start treating you like part of their environment and will swim right up to you. I was so lucky to start my scuba career exploring the kelp forests in California, a truly remarkable habitat. Through years of diving, I really started feeling a deep desire to understand how underwater habitats are formed, and the role of ecosystem engineers within them.

I eventually changed careers and started making my way up the corporate ladder, but never stopped reading and learning about marine biology and ecology. A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to do something more meaningful, so I quit my job and applied for grad school. I was so lucky to be accepted into IMBRSea’s program for marine resource management, and feel so lucky to now be interning for KSLOF as a part of my education!

What We Learned: Collaboration with Local Communities has the Biggest Impact on Reef Conservation

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On the Global Reef Expedition, we prioritized using a collaborative approach to study and map coral reefs by partnering with scientific and local experts in each of the countries we visited. While the scientific team was conducting surveys underwater, we also implemented various outreach and education programs in parallel to improve ocean literacy and inspire the next generation of ocean advocates. The partnerships we formed allowed us to exchange knowledge and learn how local communities were using and managing their marine resources.

One of the biggest take-aways from the GRE was that nearly every community we worked with expressed, and continues to express, the want and need for conservation of their reef systems. Working directly with communities, sharing findings, using our education and outreach programs, and expanding on the current management efforts has proven to be the most successful in conserving the reefs visited on the GRE.

Watch the season finale of Our Living Oceans!

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Tune into EarthxTV tonight to watch the season finale of Our Living Oceans!

Our Living Oceans is a documentary series that explores the health of our living oceans, the threats they face, and what is being done to save them through conversations with scientists, conservationists, and local leaders from around the world. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is proud to partner with EarthX to produce this remarkable series.

This week’s episode focuses on Ocean Optimism. In it, we share success stories of ocean conservation and the hope we have for preserving our oceans for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. This episode features the renowned marine biologist and coral conservationist Dr. Nancy Knowlton, one of the founders of the #OceanOptimism movement. She talks about what gives her hope for our ocean’s future. This episode also features Her Deepness, Dr. Sylvia Earle, talking about how a TED prize made it possible for her to launch Mission Blue and create a global network of Hope Spots to help protect our living oceans. The season finale also includes our Education Director, Amy Heemsoth, who discusses the education and outreach work we did on the Global Reef Expedition and how the Living Oceans Foundation continues to inspire the next generation of ocean advocates.

Education & Outreach in the Solomon Islands

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In addition to science, education and outreach are important components of conservation. That is why on many of the missions of the Global Reef Expedition (GRE), we used a three-pronged approach: science, education, and outreach. While on the Solomon Islands Expedition, the education team provided land-based education seminars throughout the Western, Choiseul, Isabel, and Temotu Provinces at schools and communities.

These educational efforts were conducted in partnership with local Solomon’s representatives from the Government of the Solomon Islands, a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called OceansWatch, and local cultural liaisons. During the mission, schools were either taking exams or on holiday break, so the majority of the seminars were provided to communities where men, women, and children attended the talks. Overall, the Foundation conducted 4 school and 25 community seminars and 4 ship tours reaching a total of 2,891 people. This was the greatest number of people reached on any of the GRE missions.