Children from Langa Fall in Love with the Ocean on Valentine’s Day
On 14 February 2013, Valentine’s Day, the Save Our Seas Shark Centre welcomed forty Grade 4 students from Siyabulela Primary in Langa to spend the day learning about the wonders of the ocean and the amazing creatures that live beneath it.
On arrival, the children were first introduced to the small aquarium, which reflects the fish and marine life they would later encounter on our rocky shores, while a few of the others headed straight over to the shark display, where they saw a myriad of items such as jaws and teeth, skin and egg cases.
After this initial intrigue, our educator Paul Millar, set to work by giving them an introductory talk on sharks and an ecology lesson on the biodiversity and sensitive ecosystems on our rocky shoreline. The fascination around whelks being ‘meat-eaters’, and that between the spines of sea urchins there are hundreds of thin tube feet to help them to move about, hold on to the reef during turbulence and trap food floating in the water, was enough to build up excitement for the rock pooling session to follow.
Hotdogs, juice and some sweet valentine’s treats were offered to recharge the team, before heading over to Dalebrook Beach to explore the rock pools.
The children split into teams across the rock pools, searching for the various animals that were discussed in the lesson earlier. The children were visibly thrilled by the huge number and variety of animals that they found, including various starfishes, sea urchins, crabs , limpets and a shark egg, to name a few. The feeling of slimy algae between their toes, the warm sand and cool water on their feet, will hopefully create memories of our beautiful ocean they will hold onto and treasure.
When asking some of the children what they most loved about the ocean and its marine life, they responded with excitement. Here’s what a few of them had to say: Ana said “I like the legs of the starfish”, Anele, Alutha, Khaya said “We like the colours of the animals” and Luvo said “I like sharks because they keep our oceans balanced”.
“We are grateful that we can offer social outreach initiatives to groups of children such as this one, where one can really see the emergence of their interest, knowledge and enthusiasm for the ocean and that all creatures big and small are not to be feared, but protected and appreciated for the role they play in our own survival” says Paul, educator at the Shark Centre.
A big thanks to the teachers of Siyabulela Primary and to Zanele Mayiya, our assistant-educator, for planning this social outreach initiative.
The Shark Centre is open daily to the general public, Monday-Friday from 10am to 4pm. Visitors to the Centre can expect to see small sharks and marine life in the aquarium, view marine documentaries and find out general shark and research information. For educational requests or enquiries, please contact Paul Miller Paul@saveourseas.com or T: 021 788 6694.