Through experiencing a series of different environments, students are able to discover more of New Zealand. From the far north (the Kermadec Islands, Three Kings Islands and Parengarenga Harbour) through to visiting our marine reserves (Poor Knights Islands and Goat Island) and what our backyard looks like in the Hauraki Gulf, students experience both pristine and degraded marine environments to understand what is happening in these ecosystems.
Throughout the year, the BLAKE environmental educators Courtney (an EMR volunteer) and Annika (who has been in the Auckland University Underwater Club for 7 years and was the president in 2016) are visiting schools throughout Auckland, presenting to over 20,000 students, where students see first-hand, the beauty of our oceans and how important it is to protect and restore the seabed, the ocean and the lands around it. Students compare and contrast healthy and degraded marine environments, learn about what causes them and discuss what actions can be taken to protect this unique wonderland. Issues discussed include over-fishing and the consequences on the ecosystem, different forms of pollution and how our actions are directly affecting our marine environment. Through this programme, the BLAKE NZ-VR sessions aim to connect thousands of young Kiwis with the marine environment, providing experiences to build empathy and a deeper sense of kaitiakitanga towards our natural environment.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” - Baba Dioum