As you know, The Conservation Planning Group was in Glasgow, Scotland this month for the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress. Not only all presentations and workshops went really well, but it was also a pleasure to reconnect with other members of the group scattered all around the world.
An important goal of the 3rd IIMCC was to conduct marine conservation community outreach events in Glasgow, the host city. The IMCC Organizing Committee wanted to give back to Glasgow through these events, as well as increase awareness and knowledge of marine conservation.
Melanie, from The Conservation Planning Group, participated in these events. With four other keen marine conservation scientists, she visited Anderston Primary School on 19th August, and introduced coral reefs and marine protected areas to students ages six to 12. The experience was very rewarding with extremely engaged children, who quickly understood basic coral biology and conservation concepts. Scottish children were stoked to talk about tropical coral reefs. They particularly loved watching beautiful underwater pictures of healthy ecosystems and trying to recognize all of Nemo’s friends.
Mel says educating young children (and the public) on the importance of conserving biodiversity is essential to ensure a brighter future for the next generations and calls scientists to make more efforts to engage with the community and communicate their science in general. Who knows, maybe the next great Scottish conservation scientists were in the room…
Some of the highlights in the discussions (children’s questions):
– Have you been on a coral reef yourself?
– Why can’t we just protect all coral reefs?
– To protect the reefs from people stepping on them and dragging their anchors [physical damage in general] but still allow people to enjoy the reef [e.g. swimming, fishing…], maybe we could organize a roster to have different groups of people going at different times?
– Have you seen sharks on the reef?