A “marine educational area” is a small coastal sea area that is managed in a participatory manner by students in a primary school.
It’s an idea that has captured the imagination of school-children and their teachers in their class 7C of the Revoire School in Monaco. They are at the Oceanographic Museum to welcome and be welcomed by Prince Albert II, Pierre Casiraghi, Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Government Advisor-Minister of Equipment, Environment and of Urbanism, Patrice Cellario, Government Advisor-Minister of the Interior, and Isabelle Bonnal, Director of Education.
The children want to show them their observations made over several months at their local beach, in partnership with Jacqueline Gauthier-Debernardi, President of the Monaco Association of the Protection of Nature and Heike Molenaar.
And the idea has the ability to take-off in Monaco and spread. It is a powerful force for good in the fight to protect the oceans for future generations. Which is exactly why Prince Albert and his Ministerial advisors have gathered together with the school-children at the Oceanographic Museum – all to show their support for Monaco Ocean Week and in particular for the Monaco Association for the Protection of Nature.
Why this is such a powerful initiative is obvious in the shining faces of the school children. It is their own community, their local beach area. Located below the Oceanographic Museum, this marine educational area was chosen by the children gathered in their own “council of the sea”.
They had heard of the first “marine educational area” called Pukatai (coral) being born in 2012, in the Marquesas Islands. “Necessity is the mother of invention”. For French Polynesia it is a matter of survival. Protect their marine environment or perish.
The Monaco school children are engaged in the same battle to save the seas – and it starts with their own local beach area. They are infused with new knowledge. It is part of their school experience. Their teachers show them how to study the species around them. With some of the marine life it helps to use magnifying glasses. This is how and where future marine scientists are born. There are algae and small crabs, all sorts of fish and fascinating marine life – and the sand itself is a rich subject to study with their magnifying glasses. It is their first awakening to biodiversity and also to the food chain. There is the surrounding land and cliffs too with bats and gulls – all life supported by the marine eco system around it.
Some of the children may later have careers in marine protection and marine science. ALL of the children become ambassadors for the protection of the environment. They study the waves and they become a wave themselves, educating their friends and their families. It’s all part of the awakening of society and a growing social mobilization to fight to save the Oceans.
The children have attractive posters with simple but powerful messages:
“stop over fishing”,
” basta con u plasticu “,
“without sea, there is no more life “.
They also have an attractive marine crab and heart logo. This is powerful branding of their concept worthy of the best advertising professionals. Other schools and classes will want to join in and participate and learn about their beaches and marine areas. This is a wave in the making.
The logo shows marine life. It represents both the sea, learning and culture. The crab also symbolizes the marine element (the sea, the living, the biodiversity, the resources), but it also carries maritime knowledge.
The educational objectives are: “to know, live and transmit knowledge about the sea”. Then there are even further important goals: that in the end the children themselves will put in place actions to manage and enhance the bay they have chosen.
Prince Albert and his Ministerial advisors and Pierre Casiraghi are there to show the children they share their enthusiasm and their goals and help the wave become a tidal wave of citizen actions for the protection and management of the Oceans.