“Kids On The Reef” Educational Programme

June 21, 2016

Despite living walking distance to the shoreline, many Bermudian young people have never seen the world just beneath the waves. With no exposure to the wonder and excitement of the ocean, how would Bermuda’s future generations appreciate their own big blue backyard?” – I Am Water Foundation.

The Bermuda Zoological Society, and lead sponsor XL Catlin, recently welcomed back Beth Neale of the I Am Water foundation for their fourth annual Kids on the Reef educational programme.

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The BZS said, “I Am Water is a South African-based organisation that was founded in 2010 that believes mankind and nature cannot survive without each other.

“Their greatest desire is to see the lives of people transformed when they personally experience the majesty of the ocean. They also desire to protect our ‘last wilderness beneath the waves’ through education and awareness.

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“Through the XL Catlin Kids on the Reef program, Bermuda’s public school students are given the unique opportunity to experience the wonders of the deep, and for some of them it is their first time out on the reefs.

“Each group of students participated in two-day workshops, where they learned and experienced a great deal about our marine environment, the importance of water, free diving and snorkeling.

“The program includes both confined water and open-water freedive instruction along with teaching coral reef ecology, ocean conservation, and personal development through setting goals and coaching mental and body awareness.

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“This year we were able to host four groups of M1 students from T. N. Tatem, two groups from Dellwood, two groups from Sandys, and two groups from Clearwater.

“Under the direction of Beth Neale, an avid free diver and instructor, and BZS educator, Dr. Alex Amat, the students were guided through yoga to learn breath and body control so they could develop an awareness that would transfer itself into the water as they explored the surface through snorkeling, and then they learned how to control their breathing in the mind-over-body challenge of freediving.”

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“Kids on the Reef helps me to guide and shape young minds into contributing towards the understanding and protecting their beautiful blue underwater playground,” remarked Ms. Neale.

“Imagine the influence and ripple effect these young minds will have in their adult lives! We believe that it is hugely beneficial to the children, as it is only through understanding why the ocean is important and experiencing it for themselves, that they are able to be inspired to want to conserve and protect it.”

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Dr. Amat said: “This year we were able to take the kids around Trunk Island for the first day of Kids on the Reef. It was the perfect location to gently get in the water from the beach, and as it was a first time experience for some, we were able to make sure everybody was comfortable using their mask, snorkels and fins before venturing into the slightly deeper waters that were teaming with life.

“Once in the water they were able to observe algae, invertebrates, and an array of fish and it proved to be the highlight of the course for many kids. By the end of the two-day course, most of the students are able to recognize a number of different fish, corals, as well as gain an understanding of the threats to our ocean sand. This is the best job in the world and it is so rewarding to help to raise the next generation of our planet’s environmental stewards.”

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Patrick Tannock, who chairs XL Catlin’s Bermuda-based philanthropic unit, the XL Foundation, said: “The environment and education are two key components of XL Catlin’s corporate social responsibility strategic focus.

“Our sponsorship of the Kids on the Reef programme, which aims to educate Bermuda’s youth about conservation and protection of Bermuda’s ocean habitats, is fully aligned with our desire to support ocean literacy among upcoming and future generations.

“We are delighted to contribute to such a worthy endeavor which engages the minds and bodies of the young people who participate in the programme.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Karen J says:

    What a fantastic article! Thank you Bernews for highlighting this amazing charitable organisation which is crucial for the survival of our oceans around Bermuda. Beth Neale and the XL Caitlin team along with Dr. Alex Amat and BAMZ and all the volunteers that make Kids on the Reef a reality should be incredibly proud of what they are doing for the future of this island and generations to come.

  2. Yes I says:

    Great experience!!! Looks like fun too.