World Wetlands Day in Samoa
Mangrove educational kit
Samoa students to benefit from mangrove booklet
Did you know that the Sa'anapu-Sataoa Conservation Area is an example of a well-managed mangrove site? Did you know that if you don't protect the mangroves in Samoa, you would be contributing to the extinction of two endangered birds - the reef heron (matu'u) and the Pacific black duck (toloa)?
These useful pieces of information can be found in the mangrove educational kit targeted at upper primary and lower secondary school teachers and students on Upolu and Savai'i. The kit contains a 32-page mangrove field study booklet titled "Going into the Mangroves" accompanied by a 11-page colouring book.
The mangrove kit is a joint project of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The booklets are an easy read and are designed specifically to suit Samoa. Teachers are expected to use the resources as a practical teaching tool to raise awareness on the importance of protecting mangroves.
A meeting scheduled on February 5th between Samoa's environment agency and the Ministry of Education is expected to talk about distribution and plan dates for a schools roadshow to showcase environment and conservation materials. MNRE's Principal Capacity Building Officer, Tuiolo Schuster, says that the initial distribution will target schools that are situated close to mangrove sites.
Mangroves is categorised as a wetland, which is a nursery for fish and other marine organisms. Friday February 2nd was World Wetlands Day. The Wetlands Day theme - Fish for Tomorrow - recognises the role of wetlands in supporting and sustaining fisheries throughout the world. In Samoa, mangrove areas are key sources of food income, building materials, and traditional medicine. Threats that impact the health of mangroves include poor land management, cutting of mangrove forests, land reclamation, water pollution, rubbish, and the global challenge of climate change.
Mangroves play an integral role in protecting the coastline against the effects of climate change, and their conservation is a critical to supporting Samoan communities adapt to the adverse impacts. Mangroves are also very important to fish stocks as they provide protection for young fish and other animals.
The mangrove resource kit is an example of Education for Sustainable Development - ESD is a new approach in the Pacific Islands region. Tamara Logan, SPREP's Education and Social Communications Officer, says that ESD "explores how we can teach people to make decisions to promote sustainable development, building on environmental education of the last 20 to 30 years."
UNESCO is the lead agency for ESD for this decade stretching from 2005 to 2014.
On Savai'i, mangrove areas can be located at: Vailoa, Palauli; Salelologa; Lalomalava; Sapapalii; Lano; Asaga; Pu'apu'a; Lefagaoalii; Safune; and Salailua. On Upolu: Matafa'a, Sa'anapu-Sataoa, Le Asaga, Mulivai, Poutasi, Vaovai, Taelefaga, Moata'a, Vaipuna, Vaiusu Bay, and Saleimoa.
For more information on the mangrove kit contact MNRE Principal Capacity Officer, Tuiolo Schuster, firstname.lastname@example.org T: 30966
For information on mangroves and wetlands contact SPREP Associate Ramsar Officer, Vainuupo Jungblut, VainuupoJ@sprep.org T: 21929
For information on ESD contact SPREP Education and Social Communication Officer, Tamara Logan, TamaraL@sprep.org T: 21929
Students of St. Mary's examine the mangrove booklet - they belong to the category of students who will use the mangrove kit.
Vai Jungblut, Associate Ramsar Officer at SPREP