Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Proof that Marine Community engagement works!

Through Cornwall Wildlife Trusts Your shore Project , and PANACHE project huge numbers of adults and children have been educated about the wonderful marine life around our coasts.

John Hepburn (from the Wembury Voluntary Marine Conservation Area) recently wrote in to to provide us with an example of how our marine events are raising the awareness of Cornwall's youngsters!

Do people learn at the VMCAs?
 The simple answer is yes, as the following story shows.
 The Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Trust takes disabled children day sailing from Mayflower Marina in Plymouth in the Tamar and Sound in “Cornubia,” a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, restored and recreated as a classic yacht.  The day’s not just about sailing – only enough for them to work together to the best of their capabilities to improve their confidence and team-working ability.  The day’s also about learning about the marine environment and maritime activities.  The children start the day looking at life on the pontoons using a microscope connected to a TV, which is also used later in the day to examine plankton which they have trawled for.  They also get a guide to help them spot and record the marine life they may see.  In order to demonstrate that people are learning during the day they answer two questions at the beginning of the day, and again at the end:  “On a scale of 1 – 9, how much do you think you know about the ocean and what lives in it?” and, “How much do you think you know about what people do with the ocean?”
 Doubletrees School in Par (www.doubletrees.cornwall.sch.uk) caters for those with severe and complex learning difficulties.  With funding from the West Cornwall Youth Trust (http://westcornwallyouthtrust.org) they are able to send several groups a year on these trips. Last year one group’s reply to the first question at the beginning of the day was two 9s, an 8 and a 7.  “Wow, where did you guys learn so much?”  “We’ve been to Polzeath, we learnt about everything there.”  So there you have it – proof that Polzeath works!
As a footnote, at the end of the day, the student with 7 went up to an 8.  One of the teachers, who also assessed herself as a 7, went down to 5, having learnt that she didn’t know as much as she thought she did!

Doubletrees students deploy the plankton net! - Photo John Hepburn 
Brittlestar larvae and Calanus copepods were found! Photo - John Hepburn

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