Kids get together to save our seas
(Page 2 of 2)
When the Recyclers won a $1,550 Commonwealth Youth Award, they gave the money to Seacology. Another Fijian village will get a kindergarten in exchange for creating a marine reserve. Five of the Recyclers plan to travel to Fiji for the opening of the kindergarten along with their teacher, Christine Whitehead.Skip to next paragraph
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Sometimes protecting the ocean requires speaking out, even when others disagree. The Marine Maniacs protested a "Birdman Rally" at a newly established marine reserve in Guam. Competitors (mostly Japanese tourists) built large hang-gliderlike kites and ran off a large ramp into the water. "The reef flat is a prime snorkeling location and could have been damaged by the ramp and the crash landing of kites and people," notes teacher Linda Tatreau. The Maniacs also thought it was unfair that fishermen were excluded, but not foreign tourists.
The students also protested against "shark finning" around Guam. Shark-fin soup is popular in many Asian countries. When shark finners catch a shark, they slice off its fins and throw the shark back in the water to die. The Maniacs began a petition and performed skits on shark finning at local schools. Students wrote letters to restaurants serving shark-fin soup asking them to stop. Students got many nasty replies from restaurants, but that didn't stop them.
The Birdman Rally was held despite the protest. But shark finning was recently banned in all United States waters, including the waters around Guam. (Guam is a US territory.)
Laura Mabbott's class, the John Gray Recyclers and the Marine Maniacs will all celebrate Dive In To Earth Day 2004. Mabbott's class will "dive in" by telling fellow students about marine conservation and by giving Seacology the money they've raised for Fiji. The Recyclers plan to give media interviews on marine dumping and littering. They also plan to visit local schools. "To spread the word about trying to keep our island clean is truly a joy for me," writes student Cheyenne Rankin. And in Guam, the Maniacs will monitor sea-turtle nests and stencil warnings on storm drains. The stencils will remind people not to dump harmful chemicals into waterways that flow into the sea.
The students in California, the Cayman Islands, and Guam will have plenty of company. Dive In To Earth events now account for a quarter of all Earth Day activities. Notes Recycler Melissa Brown, "My hope and desire is to see people come to appreciate and take care of what we have been so greatly blessed with, a clean and beautiful environment in which to live."
This song was written by high-schooler Kimberly Powell of the John Gray Recyclers, Cayman Islands. You can listen to Kimberly sing her song at the Recyclers' website: www.johngrayrecyclers.org
Let's preserve our coral reefs
For years and years to come
So all the life in our oceans
Will live on and on and on
It's World Environment Day
Take a stand
Throughout this land
So come on clap your hands
Give earth a change
Give earth a chance
It's the world we all live in
The Marine Maniacs won last year's FishBowl, a marine academic competition for students from Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. Their prize? Naming rights to an underwater volcano! (The Maniacs named the volcano Patgon Masala, after a mythical giant from Guam.) How many of these sample questions can you answer correctly?
1. At what temperature do reef-building corals grow best?
a. 25 to 31 degrees C.
b. 75 to 82 degrees C.
c. 10 to 15 degrees C.
d. 40 to 50 degrees F.
2. What geological period is known as the Age of Fishes?
a. Jurassic (208 million to 146 million years ago)
b. Silurian (440 million to 410 million years ago)
c. Devonian (410 million to 360 million years ago)
d. Triassic (245 million to 208 million years ago)
3. What are the two most abundant elements in seawater?
a. Sodium (Na) and chlorine (CI)
b. Nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O)
c. Hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O)
d. Carbon (C) and oxygen (O)
4. What unique marine organism's scientific name is Latimeria chalumnae?
a. Bluefin tuna
b. Vampire squid
c. Leatherback turtle
(1) a. Water clarity and salt content also affect coral growth; (2) c. Sharks, bony fishes, and lung fishes - also wingless insects and amphibians - developed then; (3) c. Sodium and chlorine form table salt, NaCl. Nitrogen and oxygen are the most common gases in our atmosphere. Carbon and oxygen make carbohydrates (sugars). Hydrogen and oxygen make H20 - water; (4) d. The coelacanth (SEEL-uh-canth) was known only as a fossil until a live specimen of the large fish was caught off South Africa in 1938.