Floating Classrooms: Attending the International Sea Turtle Symposium

Hundreds of sea turtle experts, researchers and students flocked to San Diego for the 31st International Sea Turtle Symposium, which just concluded. They came from around the world. I was one of them.

Hundreds of sea turtle experts, researchers and students flocked to San Diego for the 31st International Sea Turtle Symposium, which just concluded. They came from around the world. I was one of them.

This annual conference is a chance for the best minds in sea turtle science to share the latest research findings and discuss a range of topics, including satellite tagging and migration, breeding biology, climate change, eco-tourism and cultural relationships. If sea turtles are your thing, this is the place to be.

I was there to help kick off our Disney: Project Green funded Floating Classroom program along with our partners in the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO). We’d been asked by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) to lead a presentation about our Caribbean-focused Floating Classroom program.

WIDECAST — a network of biologists, community leaders and educators from more than 40 nations in the greater Caribbean region — is committed to the recovery and sustainable management of sea turtle populations. Speakers from around the Caribbean come to this annual meeting to give sea turtle updates from their countries, results of their research, coordinate multi-national conservation efforts and discuss future projects. A presentation about Floating Classroom was anticipated by many in attendance.

The presentation was well received, especially by the executive director of WIDECAST, Dr. Karen Eckerd. She is excited to see the success of Floating Classroom in Dominica, and agrees that it holds great promise for other Caribbean countries as well. It is wonderful to hear such enthusiasm and support from a well-respected member of the conservation community.

After the presentation, I spoke with Karen about her recent experience and successes with corporate partnerships. She had also led a presentation — about conservation partnerships with Caribbean businesses — and I was eager to hear more about her experiences. Corporations that I’d never have suspected of becoming involved in supporting conservation issues have donated significant funds to environmental projects. These partnerships are definitely something we’re working to explore further to establish the Floating Classroom project and a perpetuating sustainable program in the region.

Later, during a working group session, I talked about Floating Classroom with an environmental officer from the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society. She is a former teacher, and now leads educational camps with students at schools located near sea turtle nesting beaches. She focuses primarily on educating the students about sea turtles, but wanted to learn more about how Floating Classroom addresses the wide variety of marine life and conservation issues, in addition to being integrated in the school curriculum. The villages she works with are very remote and exposure to some of the great activities and lessons in the handbook could be a wonderful experience for the students she works with.

It was an honor to be invited to the WIDECAST meeting, and for Floating Classroom and the International Fund for Animal Welfare to be highlighted and receive positive feedback and enthusiasm. It has been wonderful to share our program with such a diverse group of experts, and to learn from their experiences as well. I’m already imagining ways we can expand Floating Classroom to build on these connections. Someday, I hope, our Dominican students will become pen-pals with students from Guyana or elsewhere, sharing views on marine conservation and their ideas of how they can make a difference today, for tomorrow.

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For more information on the International Fund for Animal Welfare efforts to educate children around the world about animals, visit http://www.ifaw.org/education

Comments: 3

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

[...] Floating Classrooms: Attending the International Sea Turtle ... Sea Green Flocked… [. ] with students at schools located near sea turtle nesting beaches. She focuses p [. ]… Reply. Speak Your Mind Cancel reply. Name *. Email *. Website. What Are People Saying . [...]

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Hi Kara - This is the best place for more information on our Floating Classroom initiative: http://www.mywhaleweb.com/?page_id=376 - We're working to bring this content into our new web site which is currently under construction. Many thanks for your comment!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Hi Amanda, Didn't see anything about the Floating Classroom project at the link. Does IFAW have information about this online?

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