Last month I received a visit from Jizzy Green, a teacher at Katikati Kindergarten. Ms Green had been in touch via email to inform me of her visit, but nothing impacts more than meeting face to face.
Ms Green had heard of our work to conserve sea turtles and educate local Cook Islands children of their vulnerability, and decided to introduce turtles to her class, as a tool to teach about the importance of waste management and good environmental practices.
Her stories about how the actions of her children were met by parents echo some of our own experiences, and highlights the power children have to play in shaping how households behave.
Parents first questioned why kids where learning about sea turtles, animals that don’t typically live in New Zealand’s coastal waters. As the children explained how plastic waste was making it’s way to the sea, and how that waste was mistaken by sea turtles for food, the dots started to connect.
As a parent it is hard not to be more mindful of your own practices when your child is setting the example and doing so with an understanding of the impacts of bad behaviors.
So with a few lessons to kindergarten students using sea turtle as her vehicle, Jizzy Green was able to teach kids how our oceans are interconnected, how our actions on the land affect the ocean and it’s inhabitants, and what an individual and a family can do to make the environment a healthier place. And indirectly, she influenced a whole community to be more mindful of waste.
But on top of all this, Ms Green also found time to raise funds for the Cook Islands Turtle Project. Something I am absolutely amazed by and thankful for. The significant cash donation from the Katikati Kindergarten and Ms Green personally will be used this season to help us conduct field research and deliver a conservation message to a remote Cook Islands community.
Thank you Ms Green, and thank you Katikati Kindergarten.