Thursday 4 August 2011

Community Outreach Programme

by Simon Elwen
This year the NDP and Oceans Research has been developing an Education Programme or “Community Outreach Programme”, aimed at both adults and school learners. Heidi Etter, has been developing this part of our work.

On the 11th of July we held an evening of public talks at Oceans Restaurant in Walvis Bay, along with John Paterson of the Albatross Task force. This evening was initiated and hosted by Marko Jansen van Vuuren of Catamaran Charters and we used the opportunity to sell some of our photos to raise some funding for the Education programme (for printing, laminating and a projector etc). The evening was a great success and we had really positive feedback and interest from the people who attended and managed to raise a few thousand rand for the project! We’ll be giving another evening of talks up in Swakopmund on the 9th of August at the Swakopmund Museum (19h00) so please do come along to that if you can!

Heidi has done a great job of making contact with the local schools and in developing materials, so we’ve already managed to have education days at two local high schools. Last week a baby Heaviside’s dolphin was found stranded along the beach south of Walvis (by Naude Dreyer again) and since the animal was small and easy to move around, we used the opportunity to perform the necropsy as a demonstration. We did this for the Grade 12 biology learners at the International School. I think they got a lot out of it and we’re looking forward to future education events. It was great having Dr Sonja Heinrich (a colleague from the University of St Andrews who works on the Chilean dolphin, 'sister' species to the Heaviside's) with all her experience involved as well - she's been visiting us and the dolphins for the last two weeks.

Some photos below of us with the students at the dissection with the International School.
 a slightly concerned looking class at the beginning
 but getting into it - here I was showing them the 'hand' bones in the flipper

The lungs were healthy with no signs of worms, and no other clear signs of cause of death

Sonja, Me, Heidi, Rachel, Deanna and Lesley.

Then Heidi at Duneside High

Playing the 'echolocation game' trying to pinpoint sounds
Bethan measuring our whales and dolphins with students

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