Getting the local kids involved in our efforts has always been one of our main goals, so we were very happy when the school teachers asked us to develop a science project involving coral conservation. Most of the local school kids know us already through our efforts with the Save Koh Tao Group, so when the annual Regional Science Fair came up they all decided that they wanted to continue their marine ecology education and get into some diving as well.
In 6 weeks, we trained the kids (ages 10-12) through a modified version of our normal marine conservation course, including reef ecology, research, and restoration. The course consisted of about 10 lectures, given by the master teacher, Shin. On the weekends we went out to the sea to perform the actual work.
In week 1 the younger students decided that they wanted to build a coral nursery, and test the effectiveness of various types of rope to secure naturally formed coral fragments. The older students decided to help the younger ones, and also to test various types of epoxy and glue to secure fragments to natural or artificial substrates. The work done in week one was all done snorkeling or on the boat, with the help from our NHRCP students.
In week 2, we took the kids over to Crystal Dive School, who donated pool time for us to teach them the Discover Scuba Dive and work on their underwater skills. The following week we took them for a dive in the sea, to check on their nurseries and perform and underwater clean-up.
The next few weeks were spent preparing the paper, poster, movie, and models to display at the Science Fair in Suratthani on the 18th and 19th of October. Then, in week 5 and 6 we did a few more dives to check again on the nurseries and collect the final round of data, and visit the Suan Olan alternative dive site to transplant some corals using the epoxies and glue.
At the regional science fair, the younger students scored second place in their class, and the older students scored 3rd, a nice achievement for the little island school of Koh Tao up against all the big, well funded schools in the region.
It was such a pleasure to be able to work with this great group of local kids and to get them involved with the work we are trying to do here at the NHRCP. We owe a lot of thanks also to their teacher, Khun Eve for dedicating so much of her time towards this science fair project. Also thanks to New Heaven Dive School for donating the tanks and equipment for the dives.
See our courses page for more information on how you can get your group or school involved in marine conservation efforts and education with us.
See the video about the younger group’s project
See the video about the older groups project on attaching corals to the natural or artificial substrates