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Over 8000 New Zealand children have been given the unique opportunity to learn about marine conservation on expeditions under and above the water.
Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) is a national programme providing equipment and expertise for schools and communities to have a hands-on learning experience in the ocean.
EMR snorkelling experiences require a 1:2 adult/student ratio, which has resulted in active family and community engagement. “Many parents get involved because they enjoy snorkelling and seeing different fish, and they end up going back to their communities to address local marine issues,” says Programme Director Samara Nicholas.
Northland students have been on class field trips to the Poor Knights and Goat Island marine reserves. They have been amazed at the biodiversity, as they observe blue cod and snapper up-close while snorkelling.
A student from Pamapuria School, Nina Lee Griffiths, remarked that their EMR instructor made the class aware that “all marine plants and animals have their own special function in the deep blue sea”.
The Tindall Foundation is supporting the national expansion of the programme. The Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust delivers EMR in Northland, Gisborne, Wellington, Hauraki (in the Coromandel), and Nelson. EMR participants in Wellington benefit from the knowledge of marine biology PhD students who lead the programme there.
For more information contact:
Samara Nicholas, Programme Director, Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust – Experiencing Marine Reserves
Website: www.emr.org.nz, www.marinenz.org.nz
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