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  VELS - Allowing marine studies to come to life    
VELS - Allowing marine studies to come to life
What I learned at the courses of 2005

Andrew Potter
Head of Faculty, Phys Ed & Health
St Leonard's College, Melb.

“….. thus carries a hopeful message: even in difficult environments, collapses of human societies are not inevitable; it depends on how people respond.”

from Collapse by Jared Diamond, page 179

A dive in Fiji, no fish, lots of algae,
lots of dying coral, why?
An Opportunity to get wet

In 2003 the school introduced a Year 9 cross curriculum program called CUE. CUE stands for Community, Urban and Environment. I am primarily concerned with Environment.

Environmental retains a marine-based theme. Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking are used as mediums to monitor marine flora and fauna. Issues relating to the marine environment and sustainability are explored.

Figure 1: Weedy Sea Dragon, students count
these at Portsea, Victoria’s Marine emblem
  • Formal training and skill development in snorkeling and Sea Kayaking
  • Domain aims to increase awareness of the environment and our impact upon it
  • Includes visits down to the Peninsula to view different coastal environments including; sea-kayaking the Mangroves at Hastings and snorkeling the Portsea Pier and Ricketts Point areas
  • Media Watch Campaign is launched- laptops have proved a useful tool to broaden knowledge and explore related environmental issues back in the classroom
  • Coastal care is completed on the foreshore area at Ricketts Point on a CUE day outing in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

In 2004, each year 9 at the end of the 30 weeks of CUE, embarked on a 3 week big experience to one of Fiji, Vietnam or Central Australia. I was lucky enough to accompany the Fiji trip. In preparation for this trip and the curriculum outcomes for the students that I began to learn about coral reefs and the life that surrounds them. Whilst on this trip I met James a reef research and monitoring company, Coral Cay, and he got me interested in how the students to do some monitoring as part of there trip.

Monitoring of coral reefs is important; many people call them the “canneries of the sea” as they can tell us quickly if there has been significant climate change as any small temperature change will cause corals to die.


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