Teaching Local Students

29 March 2020

For the last five weeks, Nan and Katie have been visiting local primary school Apii Te Uki Ou on "Funky Fridays" to teach a group of curious students about marine science and the Cook Islands' humpback whales. We met with the same small group of students each week and had a blast getting to know each other and talking about our mutual love for the ocean.

We discussed humpback whale anatomy, behaviours, altruism, migration, feeding, threats and conservation. We talked about all about ocean conservation, other species that interested the students, climate change and what we can do to protect the marine environment.

We took the kids down to the beach behind the school, where we looked out at the ocean and watched crabs on the sand. When humpback whale season resumes this year, we hope that they will be looking out for whales from this same spot!

We have loved listening to the kids talk about the things that excite them about the ocean. They all have their own stories and experiences in Rarotonga's lagoon or out on the sea. It is amazing to see how observant and curious they are about their local environment. The kids expressed interest in continuing to learn and care for the ocean and its species, and we hope that they hold onto this curiosity.

It is easy to become complacent and neglectful of the world around us. If we all keep this curiosity and continue to explore, learn and cherish our local environment and animals, we can create lasting change.

In our final session, the kids worked together to write a poem:

The deep blue ocean

Crashes against the reef.

Whales breaching.

I see the tail flukes coming out of the sea

While whacking the water.

Whales swimming with their babies

They changed my life.

If only they could see me from a distance

I wonder if they know that my heart is full of love.

You may think that they are scary on the outside

But they have a nice warm heart on the inside.