“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees When planning for life, train and educate people.”
Meaningful Volunteer is delighted to announce the release of its Mangrove Education Kit.
The kit was developed by German volunteer Jens Marquardt with support from Malcolm Trevena.
The manual is jammed packed with great info for both teachers and students as well as some excellent interactive activities and excercises. See below for a sample excercise.
Once in 1918, the Philippines’ coastal line was covered with 500.000 hectares of mangrove forests. In 1995 only 117.000 hectares remained. This massive decline had negative impacts not only on the environment, but also on the people’s communities near and around this unique ecosystem. There have been many attempts in mangrove reforestation in the Philippines, but unfortunately most of them failed due to various factors, primary technical and social in nature. One of the most crucial barriers for successful rehabilitation projects is their lack of community involvement and a missing understanding for the importance of mangroves due to a lack of environmental awareness.
With this education kit we want to support your efforts in raising awareness in school for the need of mangroves. We will provide you with information on the nature and benefits of the mangrove ecosystem, introduce an example of a reforestation project and offer methods and ideas for teaching the issue in elementary and high schools.
This guide follows three major objectives. It is designed:
- to raise awareness for the need and benefits of mangroves,
- to support student education by providing ideas for learning exercises and
- to mobilize coastal communities to get involved in mangrove reforestation.
The project that will be introduced in this manual is based around the town of San Agustin on Tablas Island, Romblon. Like in many other communities in the Philippines, San Agustin’s major economic activity depends on traditional fishing grounds. But these already show significant signs of fish stock depletion. The establishment of a marine sanctuary between Carmen and Long Beach should help to improve the situation – with positive effects both on the food security of the local communities and the protection of the marine ecosystem. We will introduce the project activities as well as the failures, successes and the community involvement to you.
So why do we actually need mangroves? What are their benefits, and which threats are they exposed to? Why is it important to protect this marine ecosystem – especially for the coastal communities? And what do the project activities around San Agustin look like? All these questions are important not for the people in and around San Agustin, but to the whole coastal environment and the communities living there.
In this manual we will address these questions. We want to discuss them and present answers in an understandable, practice-based way. This education was created together with the people, teachers and students of the Barangays around San Agustin. It provides information on how to implement mangrove experience in schools. The overarching aim is to raise greater awareness for the benefits and goals of the reforestation of mangroves.
We hope you will enjoy reading and this guide will be helpful for bringing the issue of mangrove forests into your classroom.
Any parts of this manual may be reproduced and cited freely to widespread the information on the unique mangrove ecosystem. Help us to raise awareness among young and old to stop the fate of the last mangrove forests. References to other sources have been made where necessary.
Exercise 05 Everything is Connected
This game is used to raise awareness for the interconnectivity between and within ecosystems. It shows how easy the ecological balance can be disturbed by destroying only one organism. Every species plays an important role in the web of life and change affects others drastically.
How many people and what material do you need?
- For at least a small group of participants and open space
- String straw rolls (depending on the number of participants)
- Paper, pens, scotch tape, pins
Instruct the students to create big circle using themselves and give them an individual name that connects them to the mangrove ecosystem, e.g.:
- air, brackish water, sun, fresh water
- insects, birds such (kingfisher, woodpecker...), mudskipper, land animals
- mangrove trees and other plants, sea grass
- various species of fish, shellfish, crabs, octopus, shrimps, lobster, star fish
It is important to have at least one mangrove tree within the group of students! The teacher will give the string to anyone within the circle. She/he will start the game and pass the string to the part of the environment which she/he knows is needed by this organism (which is the second student) or the second organism needs him/her as well. The second person will then choose an organism inside the cycle of life which she/he believes that he/she needs too to survive. The string needs to be hold tightly at any time. Assist here as a facilitator. This is a sign of a balanced ecosystem. Forwarding the string is a continuing process.The string may also go to any organism more than once. When all organisms hold the string together, the destroyer of the environment will appear. Her/his task is to create an imbalanced ecosystem by cutting down mangrove trees. For this the facilitator taps the back of a “mangrove” that is a part of the circle. You should make a story, telling, what happens to the mangrove. This organism will then lose the string in his/her hands as a sign that she/he is no longer part of the web of life. Whoever is connected with his/her string will die or collapse, until the rest who are connected with the web of life will also be diminished.
Make sure to explain “ecosystem” and “biodiversity” before playing this game.
Sources: Palawan Conservation Corps: “Ang Magkakaugna” (in: Berger / Otto / Wichern / Ziegfeld / Magpayo 2008)
Relevance and learning effect
The students will see that extreme changes in an ecosystem affects more than only one organism and that all live depends on each other.
Good for teaching
- 2.1 Coastal and Marine Resources in the Philippines
- 2.2 The Mangrove Forests Ecosystem