Kids on the Reef 2016!
I AM WATER global instructor Beth Neale was welcomed back to Bermuda to continue with the Kids on the Reef program, now in its 4th consecutive year. Working with Dr Alex Amat and the incredible team from the Bermuda Zoological Society, this programme was made possible by a generous donation from XLCatlin. The two day immersive program teaches and empowers Middle School Bermudians to appreciate and understand the blue underwater world that surrounds them.
In the month of May, we were able to introduce 83 Bermudian Middle School children to their salty blue backyard for the first time!
The two days of active learning and experience, includes theory about fish, corals and challenges facing the ocean, as well as stretching and breathing for freediving. An exciting new addition to the program is that the children are able to spend the afternoon of the first day snorkeling and learning the basics of freediving around Trunk Island!
Salae Dyer, from Tatem Middle School, excitedly told IAW Instructor Beth Neale, “We have our own island to explore! I just want to live here and snorkel all day” and another Tatem student, Stefon Wales said “It was the best adventure! Seeing all those fish and being with my friends on our OWN island!”
On many occasions, the children have never been snorkeling before, but by the end of the program the transformation is amazing, as they become accomplished confident snorkelers, and freedivers. One of the first groups went for their first freediving session beyond the beach of Snorkel Park, and some of the boys from Tatem Middle school ‘discovered’ a wreck. “I feel like an underwater pirate!” Sancho Smith, from Tatem Middle School, said after he impressed us all by diving down to the bottom of the wreck on one breath on his first day of learning to freedive. Sancho’s transformation from beginner snorkeler to ocean explorer, clearly encapsulates how successful the program is!
Makai Furbert, a young boy from Dellwood Middle School, while snorkeling and freediving for the first time, smiled so much when he looked underwater, that he kept flooding his mask. His joy and enthusiasm was boundless and incredibly infectious!
Through spending time teaching Makai to ‘smile on the inside’ and relax his cheeks so that water couldn’t get into his mask, Beth explored the incredible underwater world around Trunk Island with Makai and his classmates, seeing some of the many wonderful corals and colorful fish.
I AM WATER believe that that these young Bermudians will be influential in their life’s journey in conserving the oceans. Kids on the Reef helps us to guide and shape young minds into contributing towards the understanding and protecting their beautiful blue underwater playground.
Imagine the influence and ripple effect these young minds will have in their adult lives! We believe that it is hugely beneficial to the children, as it is only through understanding why the ocean is important and experiencing it for themselves, that they are able to be inspired to want to conserve and protect it.
A HUGE thank you to the incredible Dr Alex Amat and the Bermuda Zoological Society, all of the volunteers and teachers for the wonderful opportunity of allowing I AM WATER to share our ocean passion and contribute significantly towards the conservation and education ethos of Bermuda. This program would not be possible without the very generous support and sponsorship from XLCatlin and thank you for enabling us, through Kids on the Reef, to inspire Bermuda’s future Ocean Ambassadors.
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