I remember each step I have taken with the ATF, at-sea with the birds as well as on-shore with my own kind - generally people directly related with fisheries. However, seabird bycatch issues can transcend the geographical border between open-ocean and coast and infiltrate our towns and cities. By doing so, it can pique the interest of the most important part of our society: the next generation.
In one of my previous blog entries, I shared how I had explained my seabird work with my daughters’ class, introducing for the first time the ecology and conservation of marine species. Speaking sincerely, it was a truly enriching experience for me to see the ability these young souls have to absorb information on a subject that is perhaps fare from their minds: the ocean and marine biodiversity.
As an extension to this, I have found similar interest in albatross and marine conservation amongst secondary school students. This is contrary to many opinions we hear about todays’ youth; that they are disinterested in the natural world and their surroundings.
In the south of Chile I found two students, Cristoph Schencke and Josué Ordóñez from the German School in Puerto Varas (Deutsche Schule – Puerto Varas) who are a perfect example of interest in the natural world.
Below: Christoph and Josué in a national science fair at the Natural History Museum in Santiago.
These two students contacted me to request that I participate in their science project that would investigate how albatross are linked with humans. Their project title was “The relative importance of Antarctic organisms in the diet of albatross”. They looked at food items in albatross diet, from colonies and from the high seas and therefore were able to consider the consumption of fisheries discards and interactions with fisheries.
As such, they were inevitably drawn toward looking at the global phenomenon of byatch that affects this endangered group of birds and the responsibility we have to manage offal discards in fisheries.
Below: The poster presented by Christoph and Josué in the 43rd Youth National Science Fair
This was their first public experience, and an excellent entrance into the world of science, raising awareness and search for new knowledge. Definitely a special event as highlighted by their science teacher Carolina Farías.
Below: Christoph and Josué interacting with the public at the Science Fair.
The important thing to take from this is that there is a new generation of energetic Young scientists emerging with an interest in albatross conservation in Chile! I thank them for the opportunity to collaborate in their work and support them where I can.
Good luck lads!
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