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MCEN workshop aims to inspire the next generation of marine scientists

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Science educators prepare teaching aids aimed at inspiring learners to protect our oceans and marine ecosystems.

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A scientist shares ideas with a group of educators about simple scientific experiments that can be incorporated into lessons - to explain dynamic physical and chemical oceanic processes to their learners.

By Amy Weeber, Intern, SAEON Egagasini Node

The 11th National Marine and Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) workshop was held at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town.

This annual workshop, run by the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) and MCEN, aims to encourage science educators to teach their learners about the oceans and to increase awareness and knowledge of how to conserve the oceans and diverse marine ecosystems.

Enthusiastic marine scientists presented their research on various topics, ranging from rocky shore life to coastal research, ocean acidification, the marine food chain - from plankton through to sharks - and illegal shark-finning operations.

Scientists then shared ideas with the teachers about how they could explain dynamic physical and chemical oceanic processes to their learners, through simple scientific experiments.

The threat of ocean acidification

As a SAEON intern, I was asked to give a presentation at the workshop on work that I did for my MSc thesis which looked at the seasonal variability of ocean acidification at the Antarctic Ice Shelf.

It was a truly rewarding experience to be part of the workshop and to increase the awareness that ocean acidification is a major threat to global marine ecosystems.

I had the opportunity to interact with teachers and it was remarkable to see how excited many of them were to learn more about marine science and about how they could incorporate experiments into their school science lessons to inspire the next generation of marine scientists.

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