Situated at Sea World at uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa, the Sea World Education Centre is well placed to provide marine education to young and old. Both formal and informal education programs are offered to thousands of learners and guests each year.
School groups visiting Sea World are all provided with an educational experience. This may take the form of a basic or intensive guided tour of the aquarium, or curriculum-linked courses and lessons, which emphasise marine conservation throughout. Educators’ workshops are offered monthly, in an effort to assist teachers to include marine concepts in their teaching. The workshops are also used to expose teachers to new teaching methods in support of capacitating teachers to effectively meet the national school curriculum standards. Tertiary institutions and special interest groups, such as divers, conservation authorities and even restaurants, also benefit from the programs offered by the Sea World Education Centre. These groups may participate in Basic Marine Ecology, Fish Identification, or Sustainable Seafood courses, to name a few.
A dedicated Outreach team takes the marine environment to those who may never otherwise experience it, offering lessons and educators’ workshops to disadvantaged schools in far flung rural areas. Even those schools that are inland are taught the significance of their potential impact on the sea through their use of rivers, and participate in biodiversity audits in their schools. Many have subsequently set up Green Teams’ in their schools.
Being situated at a world class theme park, uShaka Marine World, offers the Sea World Education staff the unique opportunity to share conservation awareness with a large number of guests on a daily basis. This is done by having Education staff based at stations throughout the park, such as microscopes showing invertebrate life, touch pools and even a Dangerous Creatures facility, housing reptiles and amphibians, which is used to highlight the exotic pet trade and the plight of these animals.
Education staff also provide informative commentaries during the main feeds in the aquarium, ensuring guests understand what they are watching. And staff are on hand to engage with guests as they move through the aquarium, chatting to them about the animals in the exhibits as well as broader marine conservation issues. The aim is always for the guests to have an enjoyable experience, while still learning about conservation issues and discovering actions that they can take to help resolve these issues.