On May 20th, 2008, about 300 children of Vonitsa’s Primary School attended the presentation "Our Friends the Dolphins" inspired by the booklet by Tethys’ president Giovanni Bearzi.
This event was carried out in the context of public awareness and education activities developed by Tethys’ Ionian Dolphin Project, with support from WDCS, OceanCare, the RAC/SPA and the Earthwatch Institute.
The presentation was led by staff member Sofia Vekerithou, a teacher from Vonitsa, Greece, who started collaborating with Tethys in 2007 and is now contributing substantially to education programmes. Sofia was helped by her teen-age students at the Vonitsa Secondary School.
In April Sofia and her students visited the Tethys field station in Vonitsa and dolphin researcher Joan Gonzalvo introduced them to the work done by Tethys since 1991 on dolphins in the Ionian Sea. This visit motivated the older students to share what they learned with younger kids.
Sofia and Joan helped the students to do independent research on the conservation of the Amvrakikos Gulf, with emphasis on dolphins living there. The students were then provided with information and visual materials to organize a dolphin conservation event, presenting their own work to the young audience.
An important role was played by the booklet “All About Dolphins” produced by WDCS, CMS and TUI. One hundred copies of this multilingual educational manual were given to local school teachers and used as preparatory material for their students prior to the dolphin event.
Seeing the young audience lighting up with curiosity and interest by the message delivered by Sofia and her students was a great satisfaction for the Tethys team, that strives to raise awareness on the need to protect marine biodiversity. The success of this event is a reason to believe that marine conservation in Greece is still within reach!
Joan Gonzalvo, Sofia Vekerithou and Giovanni Bearzi
Photos of the dolphin event