Primary school students were intrigued by what was on show by USP’s School of Marine Studies.
The University of the South Pacific participated in the 2019 World Oceans Day celebration, with the theme “Gender and the Ocean” at the My Suva Park on 7 June 2019.
The event included a march, an Ocean Day fair, public seminar and mangrove seedling planting.
The Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment’s (FSTE), School of Marine Studies (SMS), represented the University, and made use of the opportunity to showcase teaching and research activities at the School.
Ms Wendy Powell, USP Master of Science student, participated in public seminar where she presented preliminary findings of her research on the effects of microplastics in mangrove ecosystems.
She acknowledged the assistance from women in the communities that made up her fieldwork sites, and encouraged the participation of women in scientific research in our region.
The USP tent was manned by SMS undergraduate students and showcased:
• aquariums that displayed the differences between a healthy live reef and degraded reef;
• a touch tank comprising various soft and hard bodied organisms;
• a microscope setup that allowed viewers to see how small microplastics were;
• a demonstration of how ocean temperatures created ocean currents and the effect of changing temperatures on the currents; and
• a collection of preserved marine life dating from the 1970s which highlighted the diversity of marine life from different parts of Fiji, and the need for conservation and fisheries management.
The USP tent was visited by kindergarten and primary school students, as well as the members of the public.
Ms. Merewalesi Waqalala from the Bright Little Ones Children Services, reported that their students were excited to see the aquariums, and she appreciated how the SMS students took time to answer questions from the kindergarten-aged children.
Ms. Laura Williams, Senior Technician at SMS, and in-charge of the USP team at the event, acknowledged the teamwork by all the students and staff that made USP’s participation a success.
The event was co-organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Community, the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and USP, with participation from a total of twenty organisations.
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