Back to School, For Kids Big and Small (Part 2 of 2)

Kim McCabe is attending CI’s seascapes workshop in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. This blog is the continuation of yesterday’s post.

I was particularly encouraged to see conservation education in action when our boat docked next to the CI and Nature Conservancy-funded educational vessel, the Kalabia, which was visiting a Papuan village. The realized dream of Dr. Mark Erdmann, CI’s Senior Marine Advisor for Indonesia and a father of three himself, the Kalabia is a converted tuna trawler that now serves as a floating marine school for young children of 98 islands around Raja Ampat and CI’s Birds Head Seascape. I had read about it in a feature story one of my colleagues had written for conservation.org, and was excited to visit it in person.

As my colleagues and I boarded the ship, the children greeted us in joyful song, before CI education consultant Angela Beer gave us a tour of its decks. Cute little tots were huddled on the floor, scribbling in marine-themed coloring books, while older students shot their hands up to enthusiastically answer a teacher’s questions about the differences between hard and soft coral. This could be the ocean’s next best hope, I thought to myself – planting seeds of responsible stewardship in tomorrow’s leaders, fishers and conservationists.

As our transport boat pulled away to start the long journey home, I realized that the past week has been an incredible education for us big kids as well, from the non-marine experts of the group (like myself), to the oceanographers and biologists who’ve logged more than 6,000 dives. There is still so much about the oceans we don’t know, and so many reasons we depend on it. And that’s why we need collaborative partnerships like CI’s Seascapes program, to help it make a full recovery.

Kim McCabe is CI’s U.S. Media Manager. Read more reports on the seascapes workshop from our marine team.

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