Every year the teachers of Finland gather for the Environmental Education days. The aim of the event is to bring new ideas to daily teaching of environmental education to kindergarten kids, elementary school children, high school teenagers or any other group of people they might be teaching.
The event takes place in different localities every time, and in 2018 it happened to be located on Hailuoto Island, off the coast of Oulu city, which just happens to fall in the SEAmBOTH project area. Metsähallitus SEAmBOTH team was asked to participate with a Bothnian Bay underwater workshop at this two-day event with approximately 70 participants from all over Finland, and we jumped at the chance to take our message forward with people who have access to tens of thousands of youth!
We set our workshop at the marina while workshops for drama, music from nature, how to make a game of environmental education, recycling and all the other workshops took a more mobile view to their tasks.
In the SEAmBOTH workshop, we showed the teachers all the equipment which is used in underwater habitat and species mapping in the project. The teachers got to try to throw the rake or take a video, a few of the teachers put on a survival suit and helped us gather actual information from the shore (“99 % silt, 1 % 10-60 cm stones, Stuckenia filiformis, Stuckenia pectinata, Cladophora glomerata – dead – Tolypella nidifica, 0,65 cm, +15,1°C, salinity 2,32 ppt”). Some of them just wanted to jump in the sea in the survival suit and float at the surface.
It is always highly inspiring to teach the kids about the wonders of the underwater natures of the Bothnian Bay, but it is even more inspiring to teach the teachers, who are the professionals of teaching. I hope they got something from our workshop that they can incorporate into their teaching about the Baltic Sea and other environmental education.
Written & photos by Essi Keskinen