Seaweek activities in the Top of the South reached over 450 people in Nelson, Blenheim and Picton. A marine biosecurity focus was a first for Seaweek. The involvement of the Top of the South Partnership made this a bigger and more vibrant event than has been seen here.
This event proved ideal to help our local school children to learn about and connect with the sea. We infused the week with a particular focus on marine biosecurity. The event facilitated a connection between schools and their community and allowed science professionals and marine industries to share their specialist knowledge.
A wide range of organisations freely gave their time and enthusiasm. These included the Cawthron Institute, NIWA, Port Nelson, The Truck, NMIT, the NZ Sea Cadets, University of Otago Marine Studies, Sealord Fisheries, Nelson City Council, Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club. In addition the Tasman Bay Cruising Club provided a venue free of charge. ZUMO coffee was supplied by ZUMO Nelson.
The teachers were excited to have an educational experience outside the classroom. Educational materials were provided to the classroom teachers, allowing them to follow up this experience back at school. Many children had never been to the marina, and to learn from professionals in a safe supportive environment was priceless.
The concept of an invasive species was effectively communicated to the children. This is the first time most children had heard of biosecurity.
The Marine Metre Squared module showed the importance of careful monitoring of our ocean fauna and flora.
The presenters enjoyed sharing their knowledge with the students and making connections with the schools. There was also a great feeling of collaboration as relationships were formed or furthered through sharing amongst professionals.
All presenters expressed their love of the sea, and conveyed the healthy sea message. "We are a town that relies on our port for transport, fishing and tourism. This kind of event should be on the school calendar every year."