Environmental DVD captures schoolchildren’s attention

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  • Keen to learn: Youngsters at the East End Primary School, who watched one of the BEA's environmental documentary programme about the reintroduction of cahows to Nonsuch Island and then used up every last second of a question-and-answer session to find out more about the subject during a presentation.

    Keen to learn: Youngsters at the East End Primary School, who watched one of the BEA's environmental documentary programme about the reintroduction of cahows to Nonsuch Island and then used up every last second of a question-and-answer session to find out more about the subject during a presentation.


Learning about creatures and places familiar to them is proving to be an engaging way for schoolchildren to discover more about their environment and how they can help to look after it.

From the protection of the endangered cahow seabirds to the wonders of the Crystal Caves and Bermuda’s other underwater labyrinths, the response shown by youngsters to a miniseries of documentaries has been encouraging, according Dr Lewellyn Simmons, Director of Academics at the Ministry of Education.

He has witnessed the reaction of students viewing the half-hour shows, which are being distributed to schools across the Island as a learning resource. The six Bermuda-centred documentaries look at rainwater roof catchment, cahows, the Island’s underwater caves, sea algae and trash reduction and the Cooper’s Island regeneration project.

“When you look at the content there is not just the environment of Bermuda, there is also some of the history of Bermuda. There is cultural reference and it is active learning. In every school we’ve been to we have seen active participation from the students,” said Dr Simmons, who was impressed by the level of questions that children asked in follow-up sessions after watching one the documentaries.

Youngsters at the East End Primary School, who watched the programme about the reintroduction of cahows to Nonsuch Island, used every last second of a question-and-answer session to learn more from documentary-maker Sangita Iyer when she attended the airing of the DVD at the school last Friday.

Afterwards, the students told The Royal Gazette they particularly enjoyed learning about the history of the cahow, seeing how ‘fluffy’ a new born bird is, and finding out about the specially-made burrows that have been created on Nonsuch Island for them to nest inside.

Dr Simmons said: “The next step is to get as many of our children to see and touch a cahow, and to visit the Crystal Caves.”

The DVD, created by the Bermuda Environmental Alliance, contains six half-hour shows, which are expanded from a miniseries shown last year by the Discovery Channel Canada.

“All the schools will get one of the DVDs. So far we’ve been to the ones that have opened their doors to one of the presentations,” said Dr Simmons.

Ms Iyer, the founding executive director of the Bermuda Environmental Alliance, said: “The most rewarding experience for me is to see the thrill and curiosity in students’ eyes when they’re watching the documentaries, and the interactions thereafter. The kids are open and receptive to new information, and some of their brilliant questions make you stop and think, ‘Oh! wow! I never thought of that’. We can learn so much from young people if we paid attention to their subtle gestures and reflective questions.”

She also thanked key sponsors, including HSBC, Fairmont Hotels Bermuda, Marsh IAS and Bacardi for making the documentaries possible.

Ms Iyer will be signing copies of the ‘Bermuda Nature’s Jewel’ DVD at Brown & Company store in Hamilton from 5.30pm-9pm this Friday.

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Published Dec 13, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated Dec 13, 2011 at 8:59 am)

Environmental DVD captures schoolchildren’s attention

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