We launched our new environmental education program at the end of July and since then, have had three lessons with the students at Lihunu Junior High School.
The first lesson was an introductory session in which the students met the teachers from Seasoldier and some of our representatives. We provided a brief outline of what the students would be covering during the four month program as well as an introduction to the three Bangka ecosystems that they would be learning about - the mangroves, coral reef and seagrass beds.
The second lesson was incorporated into the school’s annual camp out at Busa Bora beach - the perfect location to learn more about the surrounding environment. We taught the students about the different mangrove species and then brought them out to see the mangroves next to the village. Unfortunately, a large portion of this mangrove forest has recently died due to an imbalance in salt and fresh water levels but there were still enough specimens to show the students examples of the different species. Students identified the trees and took measurements to determine their health and age. In the afternoon, we carried out a beach clean up on Busa Bora beach, with the students collecting over 40 bags of trash and recyclable plastic in record time.
Last week we were back in the classroom collating the results of the students’ field work and checking their understanding of the topics covered in the previous lessons. A representative from each group was chosen to present back their findings. Understanding the importance of these habitats as well as learning how to tell if they’re in good condition empowers the students to become guardians of their environment and ultimately ocean ambassadors.
We still have 11 lessons to go before the end of the year in which we will carry out mangrove transplantations, explore the beautiful coral reefs surrounding Bangka and visit the dugong’s favourite local warung, the seagrass beds! Seeing the students respond to the lessons with such enthusiasm and interest has really strengthened our belief that one of the key tools in protecting our oceans’ future is education.
Each lesson costs €100 to fund. This cost covers the transport, salary and accommodation of the teachers as well as teaching materials like paper and pens. Ultimately we want to roll this education program out to other schools on islands around North Sulawesi and beyond. If you’d like to support, please donate here.