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Marine and coastal educators share best practices in Cape Town

Members of the SAEON delegation. From left: Hadley Lyners, Nozi Hambaze, Thomas Mtontsi and Zintle Songqwaru (Picture: Sibongile Mokoena)
SAEON Education Outreach Coordinator Sibongile Mokoena enjoys the sunset from the top of Table Mountain (Picture: Thomas Mtontsi)
- Sibongile Mokoena, SAEON Education Outreach Coordinator


2010 is a significant year for South Africans in many respects, and the Marine and Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) set the ball rolling for this historic year when they converged on Cape Town for their national conference early in January.

The MCEN conference provides a platform for the members to share different approaches in promoting marine and coastal education. Presentations by scientists and other professionals enrich the conference by exposing the members to current research, issues and challenges in their respective fields.

The SAEON education team participated actively in the programme. The team consisted of Nozi Hambaze from SAEON Elwandle, Thomas Mtontsi from SAEON Egagasini, Hadley Lyners from SAEON Fynbos, Sibongile Mokoena from SAEON National Office and Zintle Songqwaru, a teacher from Grahamstown who is associated with the Elwandle Node.

Zintle Songqwaru presented the Weather and Climate Education programme. She highlighted how teachers were involved in developing the programme to ensure that it was in line with the curriculum. Zintle told delegates how excited she was that both teachers and learners were engaged in collecting data from the weather stations that SAEON had installed at schools in the Eastern Cape.

Thomas Mtontsi explained to delegates how schools will be involved in downloading and using data collected by the recently launched Argo floats which record sea surface temperatures and salinity. SAEON’s Egagasini Node is actively involved in collecting and monitoring data recorded by the Argo floats.

The conference was hosted by the Western Cape Branch of MCEN. Well-organised excursions provided an exciting opportunity to visit and learn about the many interesting places that Cape Town has to offer. The highlight for many was a sleep-over at Robben Island. The trip to the island was designed to demonstrate measures taken to counteract the damage caused by exotic species such as rabbits and blue gum that have invaded the island, as well as shipwrecks. The historical significance of Robben Island was an enriching experience that will be cherished for a long time.

SAEON’s Thomas Mtontsi was elected to serve on the MCEN Western Cape Regional Committee for two years. SAEON would like to congratulate him on the appointment.


Related content: Fantastic first for African science - South African Argo programme

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