Previous interns write about their experience with EMR:
My experience with EMR - Eryn Hooper (March 2014)
I was really lucky to have to opportunity to help out on a community guided snorkel day on Waiheke Island and be involved in a schools snorkel day at Leigh. It was a real privilege to be involved in such an inspiring programme which clearly engages a wide variety of people and teaches them important lessons about the fragile marine environment. It was so great to see so many excited faces when the fish came right up to us and I, as well as the members of the public, learnt a lot about the species in New Zealand’s waters. Particularly on the schools snorkel day it was really encouraging to see the younger generation being taught in this interactive way about such an important issue. It was clear that the experience of being in the water with so many marine species would be a memory that would stay with them, like it has for me.
Before coming to New Zealand I worked on a project monitoring newly established marine reserves in the UK. Working with EMR made me realise how much progress can be made by engaging with local communities and allowing them to see first-hand how much difference protecting the marine environment can make. We need more projects like these around the world and Samara and her team should be very proud of the programme that they run.
Thank you Samara for letting me get involved with your great scheme. I just wished I could have spent more time with you but I hope to be back one day when I can do just that.
Eryn Hooper (March 2014)
Our EMR Experience - Alison Armstrong and Anna Belcher (UK)
We spent two weeks volunteering for EMR in Whangarei, helping schools and communities experience their marine environment through snorkelling. We were lucky to be involved in the preparation and running of snorkelling sessions at some amazing locations on the North Island, such as; Goat Island, Reotahi, and The Poor Knights. It was amazing for us to see such a diversity of fish and gave us the opportunity to acquire fish identification skills. Not only this but we got to see how the children reacted to these incredible environments and see the excitement on their faces, “Did you see that fish? It was massive! Sweet as”. It was great to see how well the programme was working and how far it has progressed. The kids really seemed to gain an appreciation for their marine environment and why marine reserves are important.
The volunteer work gave us a chance to learn more about marine outreach programmes and how to successfully educate groups of children (and adults) whilst keeping them engaged and giving them an enjoyable experience. We really think that actually getting out there, seeing and experiencing the marine environment is the best way to learn about it. We each worked with a member of the EMR team, helping to run the snorkelling sessions and were also involved in maintenance of all the gear. It definitely gave us an appreciation of how hard the EMR team work to make a session successful. We’re pretty sure that we now hold the world record for the number of wetsuits glued and stitched!
Not only did EMR provide us both with a great experience and knowledge of marine outreach programmes but they also helped us find accommodation whilst we were volunteering. Without this support we wouldn’t have been able to spend as long volunteering, and really appreciate how helpful and enthusiastic the team were. We felt like we were actually useful to the team as we were quickly given roles of responsibility. They were keen to get us involved in all aspects of EMR projects and we both think we gained a lot from our time volunteering.
Thank you for everything Samara, Kim and Nicki, keep up the good work, maybe we’ll be back in New Zealand one day :-)