Local children engage with inspiring educational sessions.
Pupils visiting the Kite European Championships at Eastney Beach, Portsmouth, were described by teachers as feeling inspired and re-engaged with their local beach following the event’s hands-on activities and educational sessions. Some of whom hadn’t ever visited the beach before, despite living only a stone’s throw away.
A key attraction at the event, and instrumental in delivering the event’s social impact objectives, was the interactive environmental sessions ran by The Green Blue in the site’s Beach Club. Nearly 400 local pupils attended the Beach Club, with a quarter of those choosing to join The Green Blue’s sessions. There was a range of activities for the children to get involved in from, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), to kiting, and swim safety.
In The Green Blue sessions, students became crime scene investigators, tasked with the mission to solve four environmental incidents. Students got to grips with the impact of oil spill pollution, the threat of littering on wildlife, invasive species, and the importance of protecting water quality.
Follow-up environmental teaching resources and lesson plans were also provided to schools with the intention for them to be delivered in the classroom post-event.
Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue Campaign Manager, said: “Seeing the children attending the Beach Cub, discussing ideas, and working together in small teams to problem solve has been fantastic.
“The children understood and took on board the impact and responsibility that each of us can have on our waters, wildlife, and habitats. Listening to the children speak of their newfound aspirations to become a marine biologist or to work in the sustainability sector one day was inspiring to hear.”
Beach clean success
The children were also encouraged to get hands-on with a Beach Clean, held in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). Pupils learnt about the sources of litter, the different types of marine pollution, and the significance of sustainable seafood. The collected litter was then sorted, weighed, and recorded – an astonishing total of 113kg of litter was collected, including 579 pieces of litter (including Eastney Beach and the Andrew Simpson Centre).
Commenting on the Beach Clean, Kate said: “It was very encouraging to witness the enthusiasm shown by each of the pupils to get involved with cleaning the beach. Many were questioning the types of litter found, thinking about how and why it had ended up on the beach and the effect it could have on the wildlife living there.
“Teaching children about the sea life that depends on these habitats as their home is important as it introduces them to learn about cause and effect. We hope that engaging with pupils outside and participating in practical activities, such as the Beach Club and the Beach Clean, will develop their understanding of the marine world and our role within it.”
The MCS also provided an educational session looking at microscopic biodiversity and the role phytoplankton plays within the environment. The students learnt what creates a healthy ocean, including the importance of seagrass habitats and developed pledges to protect our seas and waterbodies. Prior to the competition, the event team, in collaboration with The Green Blue, had hosted a Beach Clean and collected 10kg of litter, with over 600 items being collected.
Martine Pottinger, a primary school teacher at the event, said: “The children enjoyed the beach clean and were amazed at how much they found. I’m sure this will impact on their time spent at the beach and will ensure they throw their litter in the bin.
“During the afternoon session my group found the parachute lesson valuable as we are learning about forces in science, and this reinforced the skills we are learning at the moment especially air resistance. The children who went in the sea felt freedom in practising the positions to stay safe and the instructors made them feel at ease whilst having great fun.”
The Green Blue also had a prominent presence at the Finals Weekend, giving away free educational resources to visitors and informing visitors about the importance of sensitive seabed habitats like seagrass. Visitors were also encouraged to make The Green Blue Boating Pledge to respect, protect and enjoy our waters, wildlife and habitats.
You can find and download free educational resources for your school, club or group by visiting the Resources hub.