Environmental Education Day
The 18th of July concluded MCP’s first environmental education day (first of many monthly trips to come with the Zamboanguita Science High School.) The day began with a tour of Siit Arboretum, the site of the MCP camp, by botanist Eric Hanquinet. The 37 kids actively listened to Eric as he explained the different medicinal properties of the plant species in the 10 hectare botanical garden, as well as snacking on our mulberry trees. After a quick breather the children had an introduction to MCP’s work as well as watched a few short and fun videos on the essential symbiotic relationship of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass.
Our first activity with the children was an origami session in which we created paper sea animals such as turtles, crabs, and butterfly fish. The motivation behind the activity was to stimulate a curiosity within the children for the different variations of natural camouflages and essentially to have them think about how we can learn from nature through techniques such as biomimicry. The children were then asked to camouflage their coloured animals somewhere in the arboretum, and later in the day, went out to see if they could find them again. The game ended with a winner who had 3 of her animals unfound in the garden.
After a delicious lunch (a Filipino classic, Pancit) the team went back out into the garden to play a game of Marine Life Stratego. The adapted activity was designed to teach the children about food chains and how human interference, such as overfishing or excessive littering, can lead to dysfunctional numbers of predators and prey. The game consisted of the players taking on the characters of marine animals and attempting to tag animals at lower levels of the food chain whilst avoiding those in higher levels than them. When certain species were depleted, the children noticed the relative rise and fall in populations of other species. The kids completely immersed themselves in the game which honed in on their strategical thought processes and proved to be an exhilarating activity.
The day proved to be a success and it was a pleasure to have worked with such enthusiastic and motivated children who are driven by their interest in science and conservation work.
The Marine Life Stratego Activity is available for free download in our teacher resource section.