The symposium was the last activity in the project dedicated directly to primary and secondary school students and teachers. We organized it in collaboration with the Professor Krzysztof Skóra Hel Marine Station of the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Gdańsk – the third party in our project. Like every other activity in our project, the symposium attracted much interest from the moment its date was first announced. The list of participants was full in no time, and a reserve list was needed. In total, the symposium was attended by 201 participants, the vast majority of them being young people aged 10 to 18 years. There were student and teachers from 37 schools, representing 10 Polish voivodships. According to the project assumptions, the symposium was also attended by participants of teacher training courses and summer schools, which we had organized in 2017 and 2018 – great enthusiasts of the MARINE MAMMALS project.
The symposium consisted of a series of lectures concerning marine mammals, including their biology and ecology; monitoring of the Baltic population of porpoise; video observations of grey seals at the Polish coast; vocalization of seals on the basis of research conducted at the Marine Station in Hel. Special focus was placed on hazards to marine mammals associated with fishery and underwater noise. There was also information about the WWF Poland Blue Patrol engaged in active protection of marine mammals as well as presentation of lessons learned from seal health checks at the Hel station. WWF is the second Polish partner in the project.
Probably the most popular was the lecture with presentation of the “Plastic Ocean” video about plastic pollution of the marine environment – currently the most pending environmental problem.
During breaks between lectures, symposium participants could make simple experiments: check how the bubble curtain works, discover the physiology of diving and find microplastics in cosmetics.
The symposium, organized also in the partner countries of the MARINE MAMMALS project, was successful. We received a lot of positive feedback and compliments. We are very happy about that, and we hope that our collaboration with foreign project partners will yield measurable results in the form of increased interest among young people in environmental science and academic career as well as specific support for teachers in teaching about marine mammals and protecting the marine environment.
As part of the symposium, we also prepared a video spot with interviews with our lecturers and participants of the event.
We would like to thank all the teachers and students for taking part in and contributing to the project. With your creative engagement and valuable comments, we were able to improve our educational materials, available at the project website marine-mammals.com/pl/. Please, feel free to use all the podcasts, presentations, 3D animations and other materials uploaded there.
The MARINE MAMMALS project team is now preparing for the last stage of the project, namely the final conference that is scheduled to take place in August this year in Kiel.
Exhibition and MARINE MAMMALS project statistics
Text: M. Koss, M. Selin, J. Jaszczołt; Zdjęcia: K. Legeżyńska, B. Wieloszewski