Last month the Dolphin Research Institute was proud to be a part of both the Doveton Show and the Cannons Creek Community Festival. Jess, one of our wonderful Education Officers, was at each event, and reports that again our ‘secret touch ‘n’ feel’ boxes are a huge hit with both children and adults. As Jess says “Children really liked the idea of trying to find the animal’s food amongst all the rubbish, and they spent a lot of time trying to succeed”. This year we had one box with dolphin food and one with platypus food – this led to many discussions about litter entrapment, illegal use of nets in public waterways, and the role of our marine national parks and sanctuaries.
We also had a display table of ‘beachcombing treasures’, colouring activities, information about DRI and the catchment of City of Casey, and at the Doveton Show, a sand play table. In Jess’s words .. “some people said that they had not been to the beach since arriving in Australia, and some animals were very foreign to them. This was a great way to allow them to ask questions, touch shells and sponges and learn about the issues with litter in their local area.” The dolphin skull, whale baleen and shark jaw are always a big hit with adults and children, as are the sharks’ eggs.
The Dolphin Research Institute and the City of Casey have had a strong relationship through our ‘i sea, i care’ schools since 2013 – there are currently 20 schools enrolled in the program. Young Ambassadors are learning about the living marine treasures in our bays and waterways, the role of catchments and pollution, and more. This knowledge they take back to their schools – and spread the word through peer-teaching, addressing their school assembly, talking to community groups, and even writing plays and performing songs.