Press Release 1st May 2008
Three Rakiura students, Logan Davis (10), Henry Bayne (8) and Jamie Adams (12) have been participating in a feasibility study for a programme called Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) this week.
EMR has proven a successful marine education model in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Wellington and Picton. Department of Conservation are a foundation supporter of the programme and the national expansion of the programme is supported by DOC and the Tindall Foundation.
The Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) programme empowers schools and communities by providing hands-on experience in the ocean. The programme involves investigating marine biodiversity and the local marine environment before venturing to a fully-protected marine reserve. After this experience, students are able to compare unprotected and protected areas and are encouraged to put their knowledge into action within the community.
National EMR programme director Samara Nicholas visited Stewart Island to run the feasibility study for running the programme down here. The first day involved a 1 ½ hour marine life presentation, followed by a pool snorkel at Halfmoon Bay School.
The following day we went by water taxi to Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara marine reserve. We snorkelled inside the marine reserve boundaries and saw amazing giant kelp forests, large blue moki, sea tulips(that are actually animals), sea hares, friendly blue cod, octopus and bands of trumpeter. We then snorkelled just outside the reserve boundaries and saw less large fish, but still a stunning amount of variety. It is possible that the underwater comparison may also be achievable via a submersible or with drop video technology
“Perhaps over the years we may see even more life within the reserve, as many other reserves around the country have shown an increase in size and abundance of different marine life over time” says Mrs Nicholas.
Collectively the three students involved said “We would like to see more promotion of our existing Te Wharawhara/Ulva Island marine reserve in the Stewart Island tourism brochures, making the information assessable to visitors to the Island, especially because we do not have boundaries markers on site, the boundaries should be published more in places visitors are likely to see it”.
Jamie made the comment “There needs to be more awareness about the consequences of illegally harvesting from marine reserves”
Logan says “My experience on the programme this week opened my eyes to how much beautiful marine life we have in our waters”
Henry thinks “There should be more marine reserves in New Zealand”.
During calm weather the waters in the marine reserve make fantastic snorkelling, the students advise thick long wetsuits and hot milo and warm clothes on return to the beach
The most exciting things people may see include: amazing giant kelp forests, large blue moki, sea tulips (that are actually animals), sea hares, friendly blue cod, octopus, bands of trumpeter.
Warning – we would like to keep our marine reserve as natural as possible, take photos and memories and leave nothing but bubbles and fin prints.
Experiencing Marine Reserves, Department of Conservation, Rakiura Education Trust and other interested parties will now move forward with a plan for how we might implement the programme on Stewart Island in the future
Images by Eamonn Ganley
Henry Bayne and Logan Davis – ready for their snorkel
Giant Bladder Kelp
Samara giving snorkel briefing with Mr Weka
For further information please contact Samara at email@example.com
or (09) 433 8205 or 021 036 2019.
Experiencing Marine Reserves engages the school community in awareness, understanding and involvement in marine conservation.
The aim of the programme is to raise awareness, understanding and involvement in marine conservation through provision of dynamic experiential environmental education opportunities and to advocate for marine protection.
The local aim for the programme in Stewart Island would be in increase the profile of the existing marine reserve.
Experiencing Marine Reserves offers schools expertise, a hands-on approach to learning about marine biodiversity, and opportunities for conservation. The programme is structured around creating a very special and individual experience with students’ local marine environment. This is done through guidance, direction and coordination of classroom exercises and field trips to the ocean.
Experiencing Marine Reserves is a rich learning opportunity for teachers involved and opens up numerous new and exciting ways to deliver school curriculum. Experiencing Marine Reserves focuses on marine biodiversity, human impacts and marine conservation.
The Experiencing Marine Reserves programme has been operational in Northland since 2002 and available to other parts of New Zealand since 2004.The programme has produced interactive educational resources (CD ROM, video & website) featuring information and images about marine biodiversity and conservation.
EMR in Northland is under the umbrella of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust (formerly known as Ngā Maunga ki te Moana Conservation Trust) and is currently funded by the Tindall Foundation and the Department of Conservation.