It’s no secret that the long-term success of conservation efforts depends on the strength of community - more specifically, on harnessing that strength to raise collective environmental consciousness and inspire action in ourselves and in each other. For our outreach and education team, that means connecting with community members of all ages - from teenagers to local tour guides and fishers and everyone in between.
Throughout the year, Project Biodiversity partners with schools islandwide to bring environmental education lessons into every classroom. As part of TUI Care Foundation's TUI Turtle Aid Programme, over 5,000 students participate in our educational programme each year. From Palmeira to Santa Maria, we focus on a different component of environmental stewardship each year, from conserving water resources to battling marine debris.
"As part of TUI Care Foundation’s TUI Turtle Aid Programme, over 5,000 students participate in our educational programme each year."
This year, the lessons focus on two deeply interconnected themes: Seabirds and the threat of marine plastic pollution. From the iconic Red-billed tropicbird (read our last blog!) to the nocturnal Cape Verde Shearwater, the seabirds of Sal play an integral role in the island’s ecosystems, and are disproportionately affected by marine pollution since they spend most of their lives at sea.
As part of a small island community, students, and the community at large, live in close proximity to a variety of wildlife, but may not always have the opportunity to see or feel their immediate impact on the health and survival of many emblematic species. Through an introduction to the biology, breeding habits and conservation threats of these species, students can reflect on their individual role in protecting them, and the ecosystems they share together.
When it comes to marine pollution, there is perhaps more to be learned outside the classroom than in it. Cabo Verde, like many island nations, is profoundly impacted by the threats of marine pollution, plastic in particular. With no formal recycling system on Sal, all of the plastic is either be transported to the local landfill or left on the beach, where it often ends up suffocating local wildlife. This year, students are learning the basics of recycling through creativity - making turtle figurines out of plastic bottle pieces or puzzles out of old wood and boxes.
In addition to introducing recycling activities in schools, Project Biodiversity holds monthly beach cleanings to reduce the impact of pollution on wildlife and surrounding ecosystems.
At our last beach clean, we collected over 500 Kg of marine litter in just three hours!
Visiting Sal and interested in joining one of our beach cleans? Check out our homepage for information on when the next one is coming up!