Submitted by Reef Check Malaysia
In March of 2011, our first environmental education program was implemented at three schools in Dungun, Terengganu. The program was funded by CIMB and supported by the Tanjong Jara Resort. The schools selected to participate in this program, SK Kuala Abang, SK Seberang Dungun, and SK Pulau Serai, varied in terms of size and student body. We also worked with the Tanjong Jara Resort to run the program for a group of children from the Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan.
This half-day program consisted of three station games, namely Build Your Own Reef, the Sustainable Fishing game, and the Turtle Action game (by the Turtle Conservation Centre). Each contains lessons on the importance of coral reefs, the need for sustainable marine resource management, and the life cycle of sea turtles. In addition to the station games, we held a coloring competition for students in Standard 5, and six prizewinners were selected from each school to participate in a snorkeling trip, provided by the Resort. At the end of the program, all participants were given Reef Check Malaysia stickers to remind them of the small steps they can take toward protecting the environment.
The program was met with an enthusiastic response from both students and teachers. As a head-teacher from SK Seberang Dungun noted, “This is a good opportunity for the children to be exposed to environmental education. Our students do not get opportunities like this often compared to urban school children.” A parent of the winners commented, “My son was so excited about this program. He told me of the lessons he learnt in the program and how he went diving in the pool. I could see he enjoyed himself very much.” A teacher who accompanied the winners agreed: “Programs like this are essential for the students’ development. These are activities where they cannot obtain from day to day classroom settings.”
We would like to thank our sponsors for making this program possible and express our hope that the program will be expanded to other coastal schools in the near future.
In addition, the Rainforest to Reef (R2R) Programme for the Marine Park Island schools has continued to run in 2011, marking its 3rd year in existence. The first supporting activity was successfully carried out on all three islands: Tioman, Perhentian and Redang. A total of 100 students participated in the program, in addition to the 20 Alstom staff who volunteered as program facilitators. The children were given the opportunity to appreciate nature through a jungle trekking activity, learning about the importance of the forest ecosystem through station games along the jungle tracks. A poster drawing competition was held in the latter part of the program to encourage participants to express their creativity. Our thanks go out to Berjaya Hotels and Resorts in Tioman and Redang, Flora Bay Resort, and Watercolours Dive Centre in Perhentian for assisting us with the transport of participants.
Reef Check Malaysia also has started annual EcoDiver survey trips this year with the assistance of our highly committed certified EcoDivers. Thanks to their efforts, numerous surveys have been conducted so far in Redang, Perhentian, and Tioman. More surveys are scheduled for Bidong (July 22-24th) and Tenggol (September 9-11th).