Students, parents, and teachers of the Parque Tibetano School of the Light-Community of Figueira, affiliated with Fraternidade International Humanitarian Federation – FIHF, were invited by the Monitoramento Mirim Costeiro (Coastal Child Monitoring) (MMC), to participate in a great scientific expedition on the beaches of Garopaba, on the southern coast of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
The children, between ages nine and twelve, were taken to the beaches of Rosa and of Ferrugem where they had the opportunity of seeing the marine-coastal environment up close. The excursion was between October 8 and 13, a period that coincides with the whale season in the region.
For the student Aramis Valentin Miranda, 10 years old and a 5th grade student in the elementary school: excitement came in a double dose. Besides seeing a whale up close for the first time, this was the boy’s first contact with the sea.
“It’s the first time that I’ve seen the ocean, it was very cool. What caught my attention the most was the amount of water and the waves, you know? The power of the waves and the noise. I had never seen a whale. They were very big. And we saw them very close up, they were right on the coast, close to the beach,” says the little boy.
The young girl Aurora Mager, 12 years old, was also impressed with seeing the whales. A 7th grade student, she says that being able watch them was a real outdoor class.
“I felt very grateful, happy. I learned that this is the season they come to the coast of Brazil because the water is warmer. They stay a year nursing their young and then go back to the Antarctic. They also stay here to protect the baby whales so that they are not hunted by the Orcas. What I liked the most was when they were on their backs showing their fins. I learned that we can’t go in a boat close to them because the whales hear from a distance of more than 60 miles. Their hearing is very good so they can communicate under water,” says Aurora.
According to the oceanographer Caroline Schio, president of MMC, experiences like this help with the students’ learning process.
“It remains fixed in the children’s memory and feelings for the rest of their lives. It is one of the objectives of our work of education and the formation of more conscious citizens in the future. Through our actions, we plant a little seed in these children so that in the future, they may germinate and multiply like new agents of transformation of our society. Our dream is to replicate the project all along the Brazilian coast. Many children learning to be guardians of the seas, thereby developing a network of child guardians of the oceans,” emphasizes Caroline.
To expand knowledge outside of the classroom makes learning clearer and more real, according to Diego Mager, father of a student and resident of the Light-Community of Figueira.
“The excursion was very rich, very alive. We try to be a living school where not only theory is taught and learned, or seeing and hearing things that are said, but also experiencing and having experiences. That is what characterizes a live school, and for the students it was very expansive,” comments Diego.
Besides outdoor classes, the students had experiences with lessons in surfing, capoeira (martial arts), natural gymnastics, and a tour through the mini-museum of MMC. The children also had the opportunity to learn about and practice sandboarding on the dunes of Siriú.
Since 2012, the Coastal Child Monitoring Institute (MMC) has been developing a pioneering project of Socioenvironmental Education in the municipality of Garopaba (SC). The goal of the program is to train “Guardians of the Oceans.” Children become researchers and monitors of the coast where they live, getting to know the characteristics of that ecosystem, the local culture and the socioeconomic activities practiced in their community. The great mission is to provide the children with significant learning experiences that will connect them with the marine-coastal environment where they live, contributing to the formation of more conscious, responsible, discerning and proactive citizens.
To find out more on this project go to: https://www.monitoramentomirimcosteiro.com.br