Water colour: dolphins paint pretty picture
Families stuck at home during Covid-19 restrictions can still swim with the dolphins at tourist attractions in Bermuda and Hawaii on a virtual tour.
Last week Dolphin Quest started virtual encounters, which offer visits to its three locations over video apps such as Zoom.
Rae Stone, the co-founder of the company, said that the tours were a way for people to help fund the organisation’s conservation and educational efforts while still observing strict social-distancing rules.
She added: “Without the revenue from our public on-site programmes, we hope that you will visit our website where you can either participate through sponsorship or sign up for a virtual programme.”
The half-hour visits at Dolphin Quest sites in Dockyard and Oahu and Big Island in Hawaii will be managed by two marine wildlife specialists at the park who will work with the dolphins and give lessons on their behaviour and biology.
Visitors will also have a chance to watch a dolphin create a painting that can be bought and delivered by post.
A spokesman for Dolphin Quest Bermuda explained: “We’ve trained the dolphins to hold on to a paintbrush and actually paint on a canvas. When the guests select their programme we actually ask them to choose their favourite three colours and the dolphin will use those colours to paint as they watch and cheer the dolphin on.”
Dolphin Quest has also expanded its distance-learning programme, where school classes can take part in daily virtual field trips.
Sundée Faulkner, the outreach manager at the Bermuda operation, explained: “The virtual field trips connect using e-learning platforms, such as Zoom, which have rapidly expanded global education experiences from the occasional guest lecturer or webinar to everyday learning.
“In the absence of school resources and activities readily on hand, the teachers are very excited to have the support of alternative learning environments to supplement the at home engagement.
“Our virtual field trips are being offered at a special reduced flat group rate for overseas schools, but for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year we are providing free virtual field trips to all Bermuda public and private registered schools.”
Ms Faulkner said that schools that had booked on-site education programmes from March to June would be given priority.
She added that the lessons were in line with the Ministry of Education’s national education standards, the Cambridge curriculum and ocean literacy principles standards.
The virtual encounters start at $199 for 30 minutes and a dolphin painting costs an extra $50. Dolphin Quest provides live daily updates on its Facebook page at 4pm.
• Virtual encounters can be booked at https://dolphinquest.com/bermuda/bermuda-exclusive-virtual-encounter/
• Dr Stone’s full message can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H76qXaOpzUg
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