Kids' Marine Course fosters marine-minded adults

  • 14 December 2016 | Ann Kunz | Category: Education

The Marine Kids' Course held from 6 to 12 December saw 70 young children aged between 8 and 12 immersed in the magic of the marine world.

As holidays are not meant to be about learning, all the education that did take place was by means of fun activities with the new friends they made on the course.

Two girls at the Kids' Marine Course held in early December show off their craftwork (Image: uShaka Sea World)

Seven volunteer guides and two permanent uShaka Sea World educators were on hand to guide the children and to ensure that the day ran smoothly.

In a digital world that is seeing fewer and fewer children connecting to the natural world, uShaka Sea World staff are constantly developing fun, new opportunities that allow children to connect with their marine heritage.

The latest course focused on five animals and highlighted the challenges facing penguins, seals, turtles, sharks and frogs. An exciting treasure hunt through the aquarium facility saw children searching for penguin eggs which they later opened to uncover clues about how to help penguins. 

For some of the children, the sardine dissection was a personal highlight, while others rated the close-up with a bullfrog as most memorable. The snorkelling experience – done under the watchful eyes of the water-safety staff – is always a unanimous high point of the course. For many of the children their experience in the snorkel lagoon marks the beginning of a lifelong interest in the diversity of fish living along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Jake Jansen (10), Michael Jansen (7) and Charlotte Zammit (12) with their plastic turtles (Image: uShaka Sea World)

As the final hours of the two-day course approached, the children made their way down to uShaka beach and had half an hour to pick up refuse which they used to fill a plastic turtle – highlighting the terrible effects plastic pollution has on our turtle population.

“It was easy to find rubbish on the beach and my team filled our turtle up long before the time was up,” said 10-year-old Jake Jansen. “The thing we found the most of was plastic bottles and bottle tops and I used two bottle tops to make our turtle's eyes and a polystyrene food container to make the shell on his back.”

We trust that the children will enjoy the rest of their holidays as Ocean Warriors, doing whatever they can to help care for the unique resource that is our oceans.

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