BACK TO NATURE IN JELLYFISH LAKE
During the 2020-2021 school year CRRF undertook and proved a concept educational program, “Back to Nature in Jellyfish Lake” for all 6th and 8th grade students (11-13 years old) in Palau. The educational effort instills knowledge, pride and a sense of ownership of their natural resources through both classroom work and field experience at Jellyfish Lake. It is a unique marine ecosystem in Palau that is home to millions of Golden jellyfish, and we use Jellyfish Lake as a learning classroom and vehicle for instruction in scientific methods, climate change and human impact. This interactive, outdoor class differs from traditional classroom settings and enriches the learning experience by giving students hands-on learning activities. For example, instead of just reading about density and stratification, students go out and measure temperature, salinity and oxygen to observe stratification in the lake. A program like this gives many Palauan schoolchildren an opportunity to visit the lake which, sadly, more tourists than Palauan students have visited. By building a connection to Jellyfish Lake, this program will promote interest and appreciation towards the use and management of Jellyfish Lake and, more broadly, coral reef environments in Palau. This pilot program was funded by the GEF Small Grants Programme and New Zealand North Pacific Development Fund.