Sanctuary Summer Science in the Village program underway

blue@samoanews.com

The Sanctuary Summer Science in the Village (SSSV) program kicked off in the village of Ta'u, Manu’a on June 6.

This first session, according to a representative from the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), had 38 students participating in hands-on activities and experiments about coral ecology, climate change, threats to reef, and how important it is for them to be great stewards and protectors of the ocean.

Students also conducted marine water testing (carbon dioxide, salinity, and ph level) and collected ecological information using two standardized sampling methods: quadrats and transects.

A trip to the solar facility in Ta'u was also an interesting event, said an NMSAS official. An activity on human impacts allowed students to collect, separate and count trash they gathered along the shoreline. The common and most collected trash, based on what they found, was soda cans.

To end the program in Ta’u, the Sanctuary team and sponsor, South Pacific Distributors/Aloha Maid, held a fishing derby for students at the wharf in Ta'u.  This is the first event in a series of fishing derbies to encourage responsible ocean recreation activities and raise awareness about fishing in the sanctuary, particularly allowable non-destructive fishing practices.  

The Sanctuary Summer Science in the Village (SSSV) is a program that enhances youth understanding and appreciation of their marine environment. “SSSV is focused on studying the importance of coral reefs, human impacts, and ways to protect and preserve our natural resources for future generations."

Furthermore, it "offers opportunities to connect with students and residents about being great stewards of the ocean. Having a sanctuary presence within the community also helps develop awareness to the importance of the sanctuary and promoting responsible recreational and subsistence fishing practices will contribute to the long term success of ocean conservation efforts in American Samoa.

According to the NMSAS, "This program can motivate, encourage, and challenge the youth to be great stewards of the ocean by taking care of their back yard: their sanctuary.”

Students engaged in the program will explore Sanctuary area(s) and the impact of environmental events on a local or global scale. The village is the classroom, and the natural environment is the laboratory. Students will learn through direct experience and observation within the natural environment surrounding their sanctuary area. There will be an array of guest speakers from various environmental agencies and marine science program from the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) who will be implementing lessons and activities pertaining to various environmental issues and topics.

The SSSV was held June 5-9 in Ta’u, Manu’a and will continue as follows:

•                ¥          June 12-22 at Fagatele Bay (Salave'a Guest Fale in Leone)

•                ¥          June 26-July 7 at Aunu’u (Sagale Guest Fale in Aunu'u)

•                ¥          July 10-20 at Fagalua/Fogama’a (Sata’eleava Ofoia Guest Fale in Vaitogi)

•                ¥          The program will take place on the aforementioned dates (Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 12noon).

Students who reside in villages around Sanctuary areas, as well as parents and media representatives are welcomed to attend any or all of the planned sessions.

More information can be obtained by calling 633-6500 or email <isabel.gaoteote@noaa.gov> or <veronika.mortenson@noaa.gov>

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