School’s out for summer!
At Asociación Ondine we are extremely proud about what the kids of Mallorca have achieved this year through our Dos Manos Schools’ Programme. Every year we see our young people becoming increasingly proactive and the Class of 2017/18 have been awesome … you’re putting the adults to shame guys!
Asociación Ondine staff taught approximately one thousand local children this year about our oceans, marine conservation and plastic pollution. That information got the kids talking about the changes they want to see and thinking about how they are going to achieve it. The students contributed to citizen science by conducting a beach clean as part of the programme. Together, the students recovered, categorised and counted over 45,000 plastic objects. They sieved the sands to learn about microplastics, how they get into the oceans and how they affect our own food chain and they found out how indigestible our romance with wet-wipes, ear buds and straws are for the marine environment.
Many of the young people who studied the schools programme also came to our spring beach cleans where, between January and May, almost another tonne of plastic waste including cigarette butts, ropes, bottles and sanitary waste and more were cleared from our sea-sides.
In addition to thanking our amazing young people, I want to thank the 17 schools and their forward-looking staff who invited us into their classrooms for three days of disruption to their normal school curriculums! Legends, all of you!
Our head of Education and Outreach, Mari Gutic had this to say about the Class of 2017/18: “It has been truly inspiring to see the dedication of all the participants, many of whom had to overcome sweat, high winds and stubborn rainfall all at the same time during the beach cleans. They did so with such positive energy and big smiles on their faces despite it all! It’s impossible to choose a favourite moment, but I must admit that one of the moments that moved me the most was when a 15-year-old student from Pius XII wrote the following to us:
“What I liked the most about the programme is that it is giving young people the opportunity to help, encouraging them to create new projects and giving them hope. It helps them to believe in their ideas and to know that they are possible.”
This year’s course was particularly inspiring for the 15-to-18 year groups as they were eligible to take part in the Changemakers at Sea competition, which was created by the marine research and education organisation, Alnitak. Alnitak was founded in Spain in 1989 and aims to build bridges between scientists, seafarers, policy makers and the community to benefit marine conservation.
Over one hundred and twenty students ended up taking part in the competition. Changemakers At Sea involved the kids working together for five weeks to develop their own ideas to help reduce plastic pollution. The results were staggering!
There were awareness campaigns, video games, short documentaries, projects to reduce plastic use within the schools themselves, petition campaigns, awareness websites, marine-themed murals for interactive story-telling to younger students, and even ultra-cool rap songs to get the message across. To say that the judging process was challenging is a mega understatement.
But … choices had to be made because the winners stood to get a week aboard Alnitak’s research vessel where they would explore ocean ecosystems, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins to investigate the factors that threaten their survival and search for innovative solutions. The lucky winners would be working alongside marine biologists and the Alnitak crew aboard the historic Norwegian fishing ketch, Toftevaag, and there was no way they could accommodate all 120 students, however good their ideas had been!
In the end there were four winners: Lokahi Makai from Queens College; Medioambient Rap from Es Liceu; Recycling Team from Son Rullan and Motta’s Marineros from the American School of Barcelona. The students will be voyaging forth on Toftevaag this month. We hope they have the trip of a lifetime and come back with even more incredible ideas with which to save the planet!
Back to Asociación Ondine and the things the children of Mallorca have achieved this year: several of the schools have signed up for our Baleares Sense Plastic programme and will methodically be working to reduce single use plastics within their facilities. The tireless work of many of these young eco-warriors has been highlighted on local news channels and in several newspapers. All of them have become part of a growing movement for positive change and they continue to develop into role models for generations both older and younger than themselves.
As you can see, the Dos Manos Schools Programme has been fully booked for much of this year, so, if you would like your school to participate in the coming year we urge you to make your booking as soon as you can so that you are not disappointed. For bookings contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I honestly cannot praise the Asociación Ondine Class of 2017/18 enough for the innovative and conscientious things they have achieved in these short months. I wish you, and your teachers, a wonderful summer of relaxation lapped by the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. You have earned it. You are an inspiration to all of us, living proof that WE ALL CAN DO MUCH, MUCH BETTER … every, single one of us.
By Brad Robertson, President of Asociación Ondine