On Koh Tao there a few PADI Instructors and Divemasters that go above and beyond, to not only teach us safe diving practices, but also about marine eco conservation and how to inspire others. These PADI professionals inspire many other divers to become more environmental friendly.
Because of this reason we at Sairee Cottage Diving have created a unique Project AWARE Eco lecture to teach the Sairee Cottage Divemasters and IDC Candidates about Project AWARE, Shark Conservation, Marine Debris and concentrate mostly how our DMTs, DMs and Dive Instructors can inspire fun-divers and students as to how they can also be part in protecting the planet’s oceans.
Eco education at Sairee Cottage Diving
This eco lecture is such a huge success that we realized a follow up was needed. Also needed was extra time to better explain how to organize Project AWARE Eco projects in an easy way and how to use social networking, the Project AWARE website, and the CoralWatch website in an effective way. This is why we created a “How to organize an Eco Day” during the MSDT course at Sairee Cottage Diving. This environmental day is not only for our Master Scuba Diver Trainer candidates, but open to all staff and DMTs.
The first part of the Day starts with a lecture in the classroom followed with different practical Project AWARE Eco projects in the afternoon. During the lecture we teach in depth as to how you can really use the power of different social network websites to promote and inspire others on eco-friendly projects. There are many different social network pages we can use like: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and My Ocean from Project AWARE. Because of Social Networking you can still be very active and effective in Marine conservation even if you are not very active in Beach/Reef Clean ups. Anything related to Marine conservation or supporting Project AWARE is better than nothing and it can be done in a very easy way.
We also teach our Divemaster and Dive Instructors about how to use the Project AWARE website effectively and then how to show their students and/or fun-divers ways to use the site. Especially with the rise of the smartphones and tablets it is much easier than ever to show students and fun-divers without losing extra time in their busy schedule.
We finished the lecture by teaching about coral bleaching and how to use CoralWatch. CoralWatch is a simple, non-invasive method to assess and monitor coral reef health with respect to coral bleaching. The CoralWatch method uses a Coral Health Chart with a series of colors that volunteers match with actual coral color to determine different stages of coral bleaching and recovery. Coral bleaching is the whitening of coral due to a loss of symbiotic algae living within the coral tissue. In healthy coral, algae supplies energy and provide color. During bleaching events, coral expels the algae from their tissue which changes the color of the coral. As coral expels more algae the coral becomes lighter in color. Monitoring is most effective over months and even years. With divers and snorkelers regularly visiting sites, scientists at the University of Queensland, Australia, will be able to answer questions such as how long it takes for reefs to recover from bleaching and if the health of the reef declines over a certain number of bleaching events?
During the second part of the day we like to concentrate on organizing the practical eco projects like having a team performing a CoralWatch analysis or a team doing Beach Clean Ups around the Island. This shows our Divemaster and Instructor candidates that it is also very easy to perform these projects besides organizing them.
This is only a start the more eco-friendly projects we create the more ideas are forming. For any questions about the Project AWARE Marine conservation programs from Sairee Cottage Diving on Koh Tao please contact us.