The coral reef education team is underway while on the Global Reef Expedition in Tonga. On the first day, five different environmental education programs were conducted in Ha’apai throughout the Lifuka district, including one secondary school and four primary schools. Over 516 students, teachers, and headmasters received information on the following:
- outreach about the Living Oceans Foundation,
- information about the Global Reef Expedition,
- what are corals,
- benefits and threats to coral reefs, and
- how Tongans can help to protect their coral reefs.
Tonga Coral Reef Education with Living Oceans Foundation at Government Primary School (GPS) Koulo
The Foundation’s Director of Education, Amy Heemsoth, is leading the Tonga coral reef education team. The team also consists of local representatives from the Government of Tonga and a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called Vava’u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA). ‘Apai Moala, Senior Geological Assistant, and Hoifua ‘Aholahi, Assistant Conservation Officer, and Malakai Finau, Conservation Officer, represent the Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources (MLECCNR). One Assistant Research Officer, Sione Tui’moala Mailau, is from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) and one volunteer of VEPA, Coordinator, Karen Stone are also part of the marine education team.
Tonga coral reef education team: Amy Heemsoth, Malakai Finau, Hoifua ‘Aholahi, Sione Tui’moala Mailau, Karen Stone, ‘Apai Moala
‘Apai Moala comments on the need for the Tonga coral reef education program stating, “It is good to collaborate with the Tongan communities, especially the remote ones to fill knowledge gaps and provide information to help them protect their resources. It is also good to have the scientists hear about the local knowledge to learn from those using the resources.”
Government Primary School (GPS) Koulo engaged in Tonga Coral Reef Education program.
Throughout the mission, marine education programs will continue to be provided through the Ha’apai and Vava’u island groups that will reach schools, communities, tourists, and government officials. Keep following us for more updates about environmental education being presented throughout Tonga.
Photos provided by Tonga coral reef education team.