PILLAR 4. Communicating and Teaching
WFT has always worked to make the environment understandable and promote stewardship. Children and youth are essential players, not only as the future caretakers of the world, but also as highly effective messengers for new ideas. WFT's Environmental Education and Awareness Program aims to change attitudes by explaining how the environment functions and how people fit in. Our projects give youth the power to make positive changes through daily choices and attitudes.
In schools, WFT has built programs that will have life-long impacts. We try to engage students' hearts and minds, optimizing environmental learning and personal development. Creating links between schools and communities - locally, nationally, and internationally - is a big part of what we do.
In environmental education, success is often measured by how good people feel and the number of products distributed. WFT and it's partners take
a step further by asking some important question. What does success look like? Have we contributed to improved stewardship? What are the elements that make education effective? This on-going research informs the development of all our education and awareness projects.
SEAQUARIA IN SCHOOLS
People process complex ideas through tactile experiences. Imagine reaching into chilly saltwater to cradle a squishy sea cucumber or feel a kelp crab scurry over your fingers. It's at these moments that we are eager to ask what these critters do and how we are connected to them. Seaquaria in Schools is an interactive learning tool that uses salt-water aquaria to stimulate marine education and conservation in schools and communities. As students care for their ecosystems and participate in hands-on activities, they build an understanding and respect for the organisms and develop stewardship skills. The aquaria foster a passion for learning and critical thinking. A variety of programs specific to elementary, middle and secondary schools have been developed in Victoria, BC and surrounding areas to provide stepping stones for effective multi-disciplinary learning, other environmental education initiatives and responsible stewardship.
Seaquaria Educational Resource Centre (2007)
Seaquaria In Schools program poster
GORGE WATERWAY NATURE HOUSE
Officially open as of June 8th, 2008, the Gorge Waterway Discovery Centre is a place
where anyone can come and learn about many aspects of the Gorge including the wildlife that inhabit it and the surrounding area. Display items include a local watershed model, pictures of the the Gorge past and present, a touch tank of local marine life and much more. Group programing is also underway, so contact us for details
COMMUNITY WATERSHED MODELS
A watershed model is an interactive learning tool for demonstrating human impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Three-dimensional birds-eye views of streams, rivers, lakes, and inlets are handcrafted to match the contours of a local topographical map and include familiar place names. In Victoria, youth have learned how river basins work, how they are damaged by pollution, and how individual actions can make a difference. In a watershed model demonstration, students are asked to place various kinds of "pollution", such as soy sauce (motor oil) and colourful powdered beverages (fertilizer), in various locations. Others add "rainfall" from a watering can, washing the vivid pollution into the watershed. The visual impact is long lasting.
In 2005, World Fisheries Trust began to transfer the Victoria watershed model experience to communities on the upper São Francisco River in Brazil. This opportunity has provided multi-faceted training and empowerment to youth. New youth groups have been organized, job and entrepreneur opportunities are being created, and these dedicated individuals have become skilled spokespeople and enthusiastic stewards. Click here for more watershed model information and photos
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IN FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE
photo by Pat Summers - CFGS
This project informs and engages Canadian middle school students on fisheries and aquaculture in select developing countries, how these relate to everyday life in these countries, and how Canadian activities are contributing to Millennium Development Goals through these activities.
The first 8 lesson plans developed focus on communities in Mozambique and include resource materials and appropriate links. They have an approach that engages students by highlighting personal lives with relevant reference to Canadians' own everyday lives or experiences.
This project was initiated in 2008 by World Fisheries Trust and associates, with funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency and their project "Global Classroom Initiative".
Click here to see the lesson plans
Produced with the support of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency
Many WFT projects have used public awareness to remove the "disconnect" between science and the public. Some examples are: