Increasing Marine Environmental Awareness Through the Creative Arts

€23,875 awarded

Project duration: 10/2022 – 12/2024

Status: ON-GOING

* Phase 2 of this project is made possible by the generous support of the Platinum supporter, Intergaz Ltd, and the Gold supporter, Vassiliko Cement Ltd.

The challenge

Coastal and marine environments in the Mediterranean are under constant pressure from various sources which are interacting together and affecting biodiversity. In Cyprus, the most significant pressures on the marine and coastal environments result from unsustainable coastal development, pollution (e.g., eutrophication, marine litter), coastal erosion, overfishing and increasing presence of invasive alien species. Unfortunately, at present, public knowledge and awareness about the marine environment of Cyprus and the threats it is facing is very limited. Environmental education and awareness are known to be the main drivers of public positive perception and attitude toward supporting environmental conservation. Investing in more intense and systematic research in the field of the marine environment of Cyprus and subsequently communicating the knowledge to the public, and especially children is particularly important in order to ensure the long-term effectiveness of nature conservation and management efforts. Even though some schools in Cyprus are trying hard to teach children how to connect to our natural world, there is still an urgent need to develop and implement new curricula on environmental education and conservation.

 

The solution

This project aims to deliver educational, creative workshops both in private and public schools as well as environmental centers, and raise awareness to as many schools and young children as possible regarding some crucial matters which concern our island such as the bycatch of marine vulnerable species, marine litter, the poor management of 𝘗𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘢 𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢 seagrass and the threats and conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘶𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘶𝘴, to mention a few. The proposed activities seek to actively engage young children (between ages of 3 to 12) and captivate their imagination through music, the visual arts, movement, dance, drama and storytelling. Essentially by increasing the contact of our children with Cyprus’ current marine challenges, leads them to a deeper understanding of how the marine life is essential, how to better comprehend the importance of protecting this planet on which we live and finally, how the ocean and humans are, essentially, inextricably interconnected.

 

Project’s deliverables

PHASE 1

  • Organize 10 workshops of “The Blue Conference” creative workshop: The children will be creating their own awareness posters carrying a message on the importance of reducing bycatch, the incidental and unintentional capture of vulnerable species in fishing operations, species including sea turtles, cetaceans, seals, seabirds, sharks and rays. At the end of each workshop, all artworks will be photographed in order to create an online gallery which will include all the artworks created by all children participating in the workshops throughout the year. This gallery will be shared on social media as well as children’s schools and families.
  • Organize 10 workshops of the “Here Only Monachus” creative workshop: During this workshop the facilitators will be sharing recordings of natural sounds produced by seals and an array of melodic and rhythmic musical instruments which the children later used to create their own musical compositions with the utilisation of modern music technology. Each group will be creating their own, joined musical composition which then the facilitators will be sending via email to all the children’s schools and parents. At the end of the year, all the compositions will be shared once again online for the public to enjoy and can be accompanied by the children’s artwork which will also be produced during the workshops.
  • Organize 2 shows of “Poseidon’s Grievance” puppet show with live music: After watching the puppet show, the children will be invited to discuss the issues raised during the show. As there will be no dialogue, children will be invited to create their own dialogues between the characters. At the end of the show children will draw their favourite parts (scenes) from the show in the form of comic strips. These comic strips will be uploaded online and be shared on social media.

 

PHASE 2

  • 4 workshops of “The Blue Conference” creative workshop: The children will be creating their own awareness posters carrying a message on the importance of reducing bycatch, the incidental and unintentional capture of vulnerable species in fishing operations, species including sea turtles, cetaceans, seals, seabirds, sharks and rays. At the end of each workshop, all artworks will be photographed in order to create an online gallery which will include all the artworks created by all children participating in the workshops throughout the year. This gallery will be shared on social media as well as children’s schools and families. The book can be found in Greek, here.
  • 4 workshops of the “Here Only Monachus” creative workshop: During this workshop the facilitators will be sharing recordings of natural sounds produced by seals and an array of melodic and rhythmic musical instruments which the children later used to create their own musical compositions with the utilisation of modern music technology. Each group will be creating their own, joined musical composition which then the facilitators will be sending via email to all the children’s schools and parents. At the end of the year, all the compositions will be shared once again online for the public to enjoy and can be accompanied by the children’s artwork which will also be produced during the workshops. The book can be found in Greek, here. Alternatively, one can also listen to the audiobook, here.
  • 4 workshops of the “Poseidon’s Grievance” creative workshop: This is the brand new creative environmental workshop (added to the Phase II of the project) created by educator Rebecca Katsaris and music educator Christina Charalambidou-Pitta, based on the book written by Vaggelis Gettos, illustrated by Miranda Verkade and published by Enalia Physis Environmental and Research Center in 2022. The workshop’s objective is to highlight the value of Posidonia sea grass for the marine environment. The book can be found in Greek, here
  • 12 professional teacher training sessions following the 12 workshops, which will be focusing on giving hands-on tools on how teachers can intergrade marine envronmental education in the school curriculum and how to design innovative lesson plans by integrating the Creative Arts in their classrooms in order to address more effectively and more creatively marine environmental critical issues.

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  • 4 shows of the “Here Only Monachus” storytelling show with live music: a captivating storytelling show with live music dedicated to Mediterranean monk seal, highlighting the major threats to this unique sea creature. This show has been carefully curated by storyteller-drama educator Marina Katsaris and musician-composer Giannis Koutis. It is based on the book written by Vaggelis Gettos, illustrated by Chloe Finn, published by Enalia Physis Environmental and Research Center back in 2020 also entitled “Here Only Monachus”. The book can be found in Greek, here. Alternatively, one can also listen to the audiobook, here.
  • 4 professional teacher’s training sessions following the four storytelling shows, focusing on the importance of storytelling, drama teqniques and music when teaching about marine environmental issues and how teachers can implement these in their own practice when educating for the marine environment

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  • An all-day seminar especially designed for professional educators, who work both in the public and the private sector, student-teachers as well as individuals from different professional backgrounds who might work or have frequent contact with young children in settings other than schools such as museums, galleries, environmental centers, just to mention a few.The team’s goal is to empower the attendees by providing hands-on practical tools and resources in order to cultivate marine environmental awareness to children from a very young age.Specifically, the team of professionals from various art forms (music and music technology, theatre, storytelling, dance, and visual arts) will be leading the workshops engaging the participants with artifacts. The participants will be exploring in a situated collaborative setting the various teaching approaches focusing on the importance of the Creative Arts when it comes to teaching about marine environmental hot issues.

    The all-day seminar consists of a storytelling show with live music entitled ‘Here Only Monachus’ a show dedicated to the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus (described above) which will be followed by a series of  workshops focusing on the application of pedagogical approaches in communicating major principles of Mediterranean Sea Literacy within the Creative Arts context, led by  professional artists and educators.  

    Our team of professionals invite the participants to enjoy a full morning of exploring and transforming their own creativity through:

    -Creative writing exercises, 

    -Free form drawing and messy play 

    -Storytelling and drama in education techniques

    -Music improvisation and composition 

    -Music technology

    -Creative dance and movement 

    Finally, the participants will be reflecting and encouraged to share with the rest of the group how they are planning to implement all these practical ideas in their own classroom/setting. 

    At the end of the all-day seminar, all participants will be receiving a diploma issued by Enalia Physis Environmental Research Center and the Cyprus Environment Foundation. The idea of the workshops is to invite all participants to have an exciting, highly inspiring and very motivational experience.

 

Project updates

PHASE 1

  • Creative Environmental Workshop “Here Only Monachus” invite in Greek and English at Larnaca Cultural Foundation for Children and Youth, 10th of June 2023.
  • The Blue Conference” creative environmental workshop approval by the Ministry of Education.
  • Here Only Monachus” creative environmental workshop approval by the Ministry of Education.
  • Poseidon’s Grievance” puppet show.
  • Press Release: Rebecca Katsaris’ participation at the 1st BlueMissionMed Stakeholder Forum in Palermo, May 2023
  • Rap Song by the children of Agia Marina Kapsalou Public Kindergarden – Creative Workshop.
  • Rap Song by the children of Agios Antonios Public Primary school – Creative Workshop.
  • Rap song “Save the Sea and All Sealife” by The Systemic Early Childhood Center

 

PHASE 2

  • Poseidon’s Grievance” creative environmental workshop approval by the Ministry of Education.
  • “Here only Monachus” storytelling shows with music approval by the Ministry of Education.
  • Invited to participate in the first EUOceanDays conference in Brussels.
  • Register now to participate in the global “Montessori Europe Sustainability Working Group” webinar presentation by the project team.

 

A bit about the organization

Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre is a Cyprus-based non-profit organization established in 2009. The team is composed by experts in biological and environmental research and management, covering a wide range of fields such as conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, marine and freshwater biology, fisheries, ecology, environmental education and geography as well as socio-economics. The organization aspires to become a strong environmental platform for research and to be able to influence decisions about the environment in a positive and constructive manner, utilizing their connection with an international network of collaborators. Their purpose is to conduct and promote environmental research in marine and terrestrial ecosystems and to encourage and enhance education and ecological awareness of the general public. Since 2009, education and public awareness are at the heart of Enalia’s actions in order to promote environmental conservation through progress in political, cultural and social change.

 

Phase 2 Platinum Supporter – Intergaz Ltd

Phase 2 Gold Supporter – Vassiliko Cement Ltd