Wetlands AustraliaNational Wetlands Update 2012
Issue No. 20, February 2012
Edutainment – For a Sustainable Future
Richard Coward, Ocean Life Education, South East Queensland
Three students participating in an Ocean Life Education Program (Richard Coward)
It is important that our children learn and understand about the environment and what harm human impacts have upon it. Children need to be exposed to the reality of the devastation our influence can have on important habitats such as wetlands. Ocean Life Education believes that Edutainment: education through entertainment is an effective way to engage and enlighten today's children to become tomorrow's custodians of a sustainable future.
Ocean Life Education does this by providing live interactive marine life programs in which children are given the opportunity to look at and touch live sea creatures. Whilst doing this our trained educators explain why the animals look and feel the way they do, how the animals function, what group they belong to and the importance of their role in their environment. Controlled, hands on interaction is an extremely effective educational practice, as children absorb a great deal of information when the object they are learning about is right at their fingertips. Live interactive programs address all modes of learning (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic), thus making learning inclusive to all children.
Shark jaw Photo: Richard Coward
Once information and interactive discovery has been made, Ocean Life's educators move to a higher level of thinking, explaining the problems that might occur if one, some or all of these creatures no longer existed. What impact would this have on the other animals and the environment? Through a collaborative process of understanding we explore the question “What do humans do that might negatively impact these animals and their environment?”
The strategy involves having fun and starting simply, then building understanding of specific problems and a broader awareness of how humans affect the environment in general. This understanding is carried into adulthood, producing a more empowered steward striving for future environmental sustainability.
Our quest is to reach as many children and adults with our message as possible and produce as many responsible stewards for the environment as we can. Learning and caring for the environment is and should be never ending.
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