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Training for Teachers on Educational Guides for Marine Ecosystems

June 16, 2022 - June 18, 2022

Protecting our marine and coastal ecosystems is of utmost importance to maintain the health of planet Earth, especially in this historical moment when human activities are causing significant environmental challenges. Industrialization, technological advances, energy production, and pollution resulting from these elements, among others, contribute to the degradation of our resources, particularly marine and coastal resources. For this reason, it is imperative to take action to prevent further damage to these ecosystems. The first step in achieving this is to educate people from a young age. This way, they develop environmental awareness early on and cultivate a responsible and sustainable lifestyle.

With this in mind, the Sea Grant Program at the University of Puerto Rico designed three educational guides on mangrove ecosystems, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. These guides facilitate teachers in delivering these topics in their classrooms. As part of our educational efforts, training sessions are also conducted to help educators learn how to use this curriculum material.

Recently, from June 16 to 18, 2022, the Program conducted a residential training session in La Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico. During this workshop, teachers had the opportunity to learn about each of these marine ecosystems and engage in related activities. The goal was for them to replicate these activities with their students in the classroom.

On the morning of the first day, the focus was on the mangrove guide. Teachers, in addition to learning about the ecosystem, created a sample of mangrove leaves, explored locations in Puerto Rico with mangrove trees through a story acted out by the teachers, and participated in other activities. In the afternoon of the same day, different seagrasses found in our archipelago were studied. To understand the importance of this ecosystem, educators played a game called “Hide and Seek,” which they undoubtedly enjoyed. To conclude the day, a laboratory demonstration using the Secchi Disk to determine water turbidity was conducted to identify the most suitable area for seagrass growth.

The coral reef guide was the focus of the second day of training (in the morning). Here, teachers learned about coral polyps by creating edible polyps. They also conducted a laboratory exercise to identify different types of coral, acted out a comic strip, engaged in a virtual dive, examined the types of coral reefs, and determined where these organisms can live using a bathymetric map. In the afternoon, an orientation was provided on the services and tools available from CariCOOS to measure currents, waves, and other parameters that teachers can use with their students and in their daily activities. They also received visits from several teachers who had used these guides in their classrooms. They had a discussion to share their experiences, provide recommendations, and answer any questions the teachers had about how to integrate these guides into their classes. We deeply appreciate the valuable contributions of Brenda Estévez, Denys Ríos, Shirley Droz, and Maggie Rosas to the workshop and for always being available to collaborate with us. We also thank Adolfo González for his contribution to the workshop with the talk on CariCOOS.

On the third day of the residential, teachers participated in a field trip where they could observe firsthand each of the studied ecosystems. The journey began at Isla Magueyes (Department of Marine Sciences), passed through several cays in La Parguera, involved snorkeling, and allowed observation of the organisms living in this area. To conclude, teachers analyzed various topics from the three guides and presented how they would teach them in their classes.

It was a very enriching experience for both the teachers and us. We hope that the tools provided in this training will be of great help in delivering the message of conservation and protection of our marine and coastal resources. Keep moving forward!

Written by: Delmis del C. Alicea Segarra, EdD, Edited by Cynthia Maldonado

Photos taken by Efraín Figueroa

Details

Start:
June 16, 2022
End:
June 18, 2022
Event Category:

Autorizado por la Comisión Estatal de Elecciones CEE-SA-16-893

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