When Annabelle began her speech during one of the many visits from schools aboard the boat, little did she know that she would come face to face with such special students. “This particular class has been entrusted with the task of managing a protected marine area by the Ministry of National Education and the Environment”, explains Yanni Bardail proudly, director of the school. At just 10 years of age, these children have been carrying out activities in the area to help preserve it and raise awareness among the population in a bid to protect Loquet cove in St-François, to the south of the island. From the classrooms they head out to clean the beach, work with scientists, measure and collect rubbish and inform the local population about the need to preserve the fauna and flora along Guadeloupe’s coastline.
PLASTIC, THE NO.1 ENEMY
“On our beach, there are two types of plastics: those that people throw away and those which come from the sea”, explains one child. Aware of the importance of education, the students are raising awareness among the local inhabitants through information campaigns and display boards to explain the life cycles of the endemic species and take political action: “Last year, the town hall wanted to set up a tourist attraction on the beach. The students then wrote letters in order to explain the vital importance of this site for turtles, it being one of the rare egg laying sites,” said the Director. It proved to be a very successful action for these young children, which resulted in the attraction being moved to a less sensitive site. “We are training up the youngsters, who are environmentally-responsible, future scientists as well as tomorrow’s politicians,” says Yanni Bardail. “Being able to come along and meet Race for Water shows the children that they’re not alone and that other people are carrying out action too on a grand scale. They understand how important their action is, even though they’re still only children.” Inevitably this is a class that the Race for Water Foundation hopes to continue to follow. See you in January!
Mon École ma Baleine and the Guadeloupe’s Network of Marine Turtles alongside Race for Water to raise children’s awareness about plastic pollution of the oceans