Project: Meet the Baltic
Project coordinator: the NMFRI Gdynia Aquarium
The magic of the coast of the Baltic Sea every year attracts thousands of tourists. Those who are particularly lucky live in this beautiful coastal region. At any time they wish, they may find themselves walking barefoot over the water to on the sand warmed by the hot morning sun, collect small shells and listen to the melodious singing of soaring, white gulls.
But let’s remember that to live at the Baltic Sea is not just to enjoy the charms of this place. One should constantly enrich knowledge on the Baltic Sea and its values. The Gdynia Aquarium NMFRI Education Center has implemented projects aimed at transferring oceanographic and ecological knowledge since many years, to influence wise exploitation of our sea in the future.
“Meet the Baltic Sea” are unusual lessons for children and young people from Sopot, held far from the school benches. The project is carried out annually since 2005. Until now, it was attended by almost 500 school and kindergarten groups, a total of more than 10,000 participants.
Where to talk about the Baltic Sea to attract attention of high school students for whom a walk on the beach may seem like an ordinary everyday life? At the hydrographic cutter! Students depart for their sea adventure from the marina in Gdynia. On the board they get familiar with the equipment used to collect underwater samples. After the sampling, the crew presents the biodiversity of the Baltic fauna and flora. Observed from a distance, steep Orłowo Cliff allows us to understand aspects of the geographical region, while sampling and analyzing the Baltic water – its aquatic and chemical aspects.
Secondary school students see the Gdynia boulevard through binoculars. This site was not chosen by chance – here you have an ability to watch various species of coastal birds.
Students of primary schools, classes II and V, are also invited to participate. The children have very interesting, but difficult task – to become a real scientist for a while! Students examine Baltic organisms with microscopes in the Gdynia Aquarium Laboratory. For all participants, it is a fantastic, educational adventure.
The Baltic Sea captivates the children with its beauty. We sing, dance, draw together and tell about our sea to the preschoolers. The greatest joy for the little ones is fishing with magnetic rods in the Preschool Room of the Gdynia Aquarium.
Implementation of the project allows students from Sopot not only to develop knowledge on the biology, chemistry and geography of the Baltic Sea, but also understand how important is the role of this marine ecosystem in the life of a coastal town inhabitant. Learning in the seaside resort, children and adolescents are obliged to expand knowledge about the Baltic Sea to consciously cotribute to the protection of our sea today and in the future. Such information will be necessary for them in the future, when planning their careers.
“Meet the Baltic Sea” is funded by the City of Sopot and the National Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Gdynia, and responsible for its implementation is the Gdynia Aquarium NMFRI Education Center.
Author: Katarzyna Borowiak