Harnessing the Power of our Choices
Empowering Children, through Knowledge and Compassion, to become Guardians of the Deep!
Founded in June 2019, Guardians of the Deep runs our Environmental Education Programmes which include the Guardians Curriculum and the Chacma Champions Holiday Programme. Through MasiCORP, we are running the Guardians of the Deep curriculum for students from Ukhanyo Primary and Masiphumelele High schools, and are now also offering the curriculum at Kleinberg Primary School in Ocean View. Partnering with Surf Outreach in Muizenberg, we introduced the world beneath the waves to the surfers that ride them. Teaming up with Strandfontein Sea Rescue would empower the kids to combine local knowledge and practical experience with research and conservation to enhance their skill set, discover opportunities and broaden their future horizons (sadly this aspect of the programme was not fulfilled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic). Blending science, art and storytelling, the students are empowered to explore the ocean from its multi-coloured rock pools to its darkest depths while learning about the lives of the uniquely awesome creatures making it their home. Through this exploration and discovery, students realise the importance of the environment and how our choices are key in bringing about the change much-needed to conserve the natural world.
“Our earth is our home, if we want to protect our home we should protect our environment from harmful effects of human activity. It is from the environment itself that we get the benefits of natural resources such as land, water and air. Our life depends on so many non-living components. It is our duty to save our environment” – Asive Myeki (MasiCORP Student)
Ocean View SeaStars – Assisted Reading Group
Communication is so important to convey feelings, experiences and information, and this can be done through storytelling, writing and reading. To not be able to communicate in one of those ways means that you could miss out on some really awesome things. We have initiated an Assisted Reading Group where the Ocean View SeaStars help others to experience the ocean, to peer beneath her waves and to discover the magic in nature, through those three types of communication. Paired reading allows for one-on-one attention at the pace of the student. Each pair then reports back to the group about their book; what it’s about, what they have learnt and what they have enjoyed. They also get to make their own pack of ocean-themed flash cards to familiarise themselves with marine species and terms.
The Guardians Curriculum offers a two year/eight term curriculum for each age group. These groups include the SeaStars (Grades 4 and 5), Raggies (Grades 6 and 7) and Orcas (Grades 8 and 9). Topics covered range from learning more about the scientific method by carrying out your own rocky shore experiment to exploring the depths of the ocean by studying the different ocean zones. From how to successfully coexist with the ocean and its creatures, by discovering and visiting cool local organisations such as the Shark Spotters, to designing your own super marine animal while learning about the awesome creatures that make this watery world their own. We also introduce the students to some of the very cool research being carried out in South African waters and encourage them to uncover and galvanise the power of our everyday choices.
We have now expanded our programme to include Grades 1-3 as our Blues Crew (named after juvenile African penguins) who will be introduced to the ocean environment through field trips and activities.
World Fish Migration Day 2022
As part of our Surviving in the Ocean term, MASICORP students from Ukhanyo Primary and Masiphumelele High schools learnt about migration and the various barriers and threats experienced by species that require migration to survive.World Fish Migration Day highlights these issues in a global celebration to raise awareness and encourage action in protecting rivers and fish. We chose to celebrate South Africa’s largemouth yellowfish; a fish living in freshwater ecosystems that are severely degraded through damming and habitat loss, sewage and agricultural runoff.
So as to reuse the Fish Flag banner, students will be learning how to sew and will make pillow cases out of their designs.
You too can support the World Fish Migration Day movement
International Coastal Clean-Up Day 2021
Guardians of the Deep, along with children from Mutheera’s Projects, joined Curb Beach Plastic on International Coastal Clean-Up Day to remove pollution from LongBeach in Kommetjie and enjoy some time exploring the rocky shores fringing our local coastline. These 31 enthusiastic children collected over 15 kg of rubbish, contributing to the 174 kg removed from the small section of beach between Wireless Road and the Wildevoelvlei outlet!
Each term includes field trips that link to the topic being studied. These vary from beach clean-ups and art sessions to aquarium visits and rocky shore exploration. When available we also invite guest speakers to chat to the kids about their initiatives, to show that anyone is able to make a difference and to expose them to the great groundswell of positive change that is currently moving through society and shifting perceptions. We are even able to link up with, and chat to (via Skype), researchers, conservationists and filmmakers from across the world.
“Putting a Lid on Pollution” – A Kelp Forest Mural by the Ocean View SeaStars
The aim of this piece is for it to become a visual reminder of the plastic waste rapidly clogging ocean ecosystems, and to encourage conversations about how we can minimise our impact on the environment. Each week the Ocean View SeaStars will focus on a species; they will learn what roles the species has within the kelp forest ecosystems and then they will work together to build it out of the beach-cast plastic. We will also be spending time discussing how to prevent so much waste ending up in the ocean. We hope to make this into a travelling artwork that will accompany the students as they visit school to chat about marine pollution and the power of our choices.
There is an awesome, vastly undiscovered, world beneath the waves and this ocean realm plays an important role in the health of the global environment. Turning the tide on dangerously outdated perceptions is key in the future survival of life on earth. Being a Guardian of the Deep is more than just a title, by realising the power that our everyday choices wield; we can go on to inspire others to make good decisions for the ocean and the environment as a whole. Guardians is linking up with local initiatives to show the kids that it isn’t all doom and gloom and that positive change is possible, by working together we can achieve great things! During their time with the club, students will start to discover the many wonders of the ocean and how the four Guardian pillars of conservation, awareness, research and education work together to C.A.R.E. for and protect this vital life-source. Have a look at the Guardians of the Deep website for more information.
Dalebrook Rocky Shore Field Trip
Term 5 of the SeaStars Curriculum explores the various adaptations that marine species have evolved to survive the conditions of ocean habitats, one such habitat being the Rocky Shore. Life on the Rocky Shore is harsh for its inhabitants; surviving requires adaptations to conditions such as desiccation, wave action, fluctuating salinity, extreme temperatures, tides, predation and competition. Students learn about these awesome adaptations and then get to see them in action on the Dalebrook Rocky Shore. There was even some time to kit up with goggles and snorkels to discover life beneath the waves. The students were quick to learn the basics of staying afloat, learning to trust themselves in this new environment, and are now very keen to get back into the water. We ended the field trip by showing our gratitude to the ocean, for such a special morning, by doing a beach clean-up.
ARKYS Outreach Project Coordinator: Sally Sivewright
Students, and their work, from Surf Outreach (Muizenberg), MasiCORP (Ukhanyo Primary School), Mutheera’s Projects (Ocean View) and Kleinberg Primary Environmental Club
Some of the topics covered by the Blues Crew and SeaStars