Programmes teach children about nature
Thousands of children have benefited from the educational programmes organised by the Bermuda Zoological Society and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo in 2016.
During the course of the year, students were given a unique insight into Bermuda’s marine and natural environment that included free-diving on the reefs, camping out on Nonsuch Island and exploring Trunk Island.
A group of BAMZ Junior Volunteers also travelled to Madagascar to learn about the country’s extraordinary ecology as well as teach local youngsters and help villagers build a new school.
“It has been an extremely busy year for the BZS and BAMZ,” Ian Walker, BAMZ curator, said.
“From completing the renovations of the Aquarium Hall and hosting an entire weekend of open days, to creating educational experiences for 7,000 students across the island.
“Our goal is to carry on providing fantastic programmes to the island’s youth in the hope that we can continue to inspire them to become future conservationists for our small island home.”
Last spring scores of middle school pupils took part in the XL Catlin-sponsored Kids on the Reef Programme, while in the autumn the BZS project was rolled out again with the help of the Neil Burnie Foundation.
Dr Walker added: “In the spring, Beth Neale from the ‘I Am Water’ Conservation Trust joined Alex Amat to run the programme.
“It saw students from TN Tatem, Dellwood, Sandys and Clearwater Middle Schools learn and experience so much about our marine environments, the importance of water, free diving and snorkelling.
“In the fall, Hanli Prinsloo and Peter Marshall from the ‘I Am Water’ Foundation taught over 200 students yoga, deep breathing, reef and fish ecology as well as in-water safety and snorkel skills.”
In 2016 BAMZ has also hosted a series of free monthly lectures looking at an array of topics, hurricanes to ants and the ecology of the Sargasso Sea and turtles, while in June the new aquarium hall and shop were officially opened by Cole Simons, the Minister of the Environment.
Dr Walker said: “We are now able to offer a complete showcase for Bermuda’s marine environments and provide a creative and attractive setting for our visitors, bringing our mission to inspire appreciation and care for our island environment to life in a new way.”
More than 600 children attended the summer’s Aqua Camps, while a 12-strong team of high-school students participated in an in-depth course, learning all about Bermuda’s natural history while in residence on Nonsuch Island over a week.
Local and overseas student volunteers also helped the Bermuda Turtle Project capture a record 226 green turtles during the two-week sampling session in the summer.
Dr Peter Meylan, one of the project’s scientific directors, said: “The students this year were just excellent, both in terms of their desire to learn about and share their understanding of sea turtle biology, and their willingness to put in the long hours of hard, physical work that it takes to do the sampling.”
Finally in September, Captain Nigel Pollard took a group of scientists out to sea on board the MV Endurance to conduct research on Bermuda’s offshore bottlenose dolphin population for the Bermuda Wild Dolphin Project.
The researchers were able to tag four deep water dolphins as part of the initiative, giving scientists a glimpse into the daily lives of these animals and their travel patterns.
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