Every Saturday morning eight children wake up to go to Local Ocean Conservation and spend the morning with the Education Coordinator and other team members – these are the Marine Scouts. They spend the morning engaged in sea turtle and marine environment activities.
Ruth Karisa has been with LOC for 8 years; she educates day visitors on the work that we do, manages our Eco Visitor programme, and supports the Marine Scout Programme.
The Marine Scout Programme began in 2010 with the aim of providing children in our local community with a better understanding of the marine environment that’s on their doorstep. Living opposite the ocean, the importance of the ocean is overshadowed and lost to many of the locals because of the element of tourism. Locals believe that the beach is mainly for tourists and income generation. Ruth says that the local children “need to learn something, which is very precious for the next generation.”
The marine scouts are a select group of 4 girls and 4 boys between the ages of 8 and 12 years. They are students at the local school closest to the LOC project. They are selected because they are members of the Wildlife Club of Kenya and are bright, motivated and excel in their academic studies. The selection process starts at the school with the teachers; parents are also consulted and involved.
At LOC, the marine scouts can delve deeper and learn about different subjects that touch on the environment. Topics include sea turtles, marine pollution, marine mammals, coral reefs and intertidal zones. The scouts engage in practical activities that demonstrate marine conservation such as visiting the Mida mangrove boardwalk, Arabuko Sokoke Forest, rescuing and releasing sea turtles and beach clean-ups.
These Saturday sessions are aimed at creating a generation of children who are aware of the importance of the ocean and the impact it has, not just on the lives of creatures that inhabit the ocean, but on our lives too. What they learn filters down to their peers, their parents, the extended family and community members. They can bring about change at home!
We have many aspirations for your scouts, Ruth says “Our wish is to see that they graduate and become better people.” We hope to nurture a passion in environmental studies and create the future marine biologists, rangers and veterinary doctors from this group of young people. We need the next generation to bring about change and make the world a better place.
You too can get involved in helping us nurture the next generation of conservationists. Now You Sea a way to help, click here to show your support.