The Back to Nature: Jellyfish Lake program aims to foster environmental stewards who actively engage and work on protecting and conserving our natural environment. This program helps young people connect to nature, increasing their appreciation and knowledge of the natural world to encourage youth to advocate for positive changes. It focuses on Jellyfish Lake to promote a sense of ownership and increase local knowledge of Jellyfish Lake. Why Jellyfish Lake? Jellyfish Lake is a unique marine environment that is special to Palau; it is home to millions of a unique Golden jellyfish found nowhere else in the world. We have created the program to ensure that students get the chance to visit and explore the lake, feel that connection to this special place, and foster a passion and desire to protect the lake.
The program has three parts:
Day 1 – Introduction to the Back to Nature program and marine lakes
Day 2 – Exploring Jellyfish Lake using the scientific method and tools
Day 3 – Data analysis and presentation of results and conclusions
To promote sustainability of the program by institutionalizing it into Palau’s Ministry of Education curriculum and private schools, Coral Reef Research Foundation has trained teachers to conduct the program, developed lesson plans to guide teachers and students, and acquired equipment accessible for all schools to use for the program. Starting in SY 2022–23, teachers should be able to conduct the program on their own using equipment signed out from CRRF. Arrangements for equipment use can be made by emailing CRRF at [email protected] or [email protected] or calling 488-5255.
On Day 1, students learn about marine lakes, Jellyfish Lake and the program through a 45 minute presentation. The presentation gives a general overview of the physical attributes and biological assemblages of the different types of marine lake environments. In preparation for the field day, students are introduced to four activity stations with useful information about the environmental variables that will be measured, a description of pink bacteria layer and stratification, and an overview of plankton and classification of organisms found in the lake.
Through this program, CRRF has provided training for science teachers of 6th and 8th grade in all elementary schools of Palau. At the start, CRRF introduced the program to teachers and took them to Jellyfish Lake to run through each station of the program so that teachers would become familiar with lessons and activities. An additional workshop was held in July 2021 to work further with teachers on microscope use, marine invertebrate identification, creating graphs and learning more about the pink layer. These workshops, along with the Back to Nature: Jellyfish Lake lesson plans, helped prepare and guide teachers in conducting the program on their own.
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