Defenders of the Blue is our keystone community program introducing learners to the diverse and fascinating marine life inhabiting our local shores. Engaging with children from across the Cape Metropole, our tactile tactile rocky shore and tidal pool based program hopes to encourage a passion for the underwater world through the discovery of citizen science and the scientific method.
Born from former-director Shamier Magmoets infectious love for sharing the ocean with local youth, our course has been further developed with the support of Argonaut Science. Led by Stefanie Titus, the program has a roster of talented local scientists and ocean lovers who lead the kids through their experience.
We started humbly and grew into a space with more financial support from multiple sponsors such as Hesper Engineering (2021 Winter Program) and Coral Wet (program wetsuits). As financial support grows, so will our reach and further program development such as platforms for our Defenders to keep in touch with us, each other and connect with educational opportunities.
The interactivity of the content, private nature of each session and the deep respect cultivated amongst – and extended by the team – means that each action is focused on relationship building. While children create meaningful relationships with nature, they also develop meaningful relationships with the team and each other.
Educating them about our coastal ecology and how to mitigate the effects of pollution is just one significant part of the experience we bring these kids. Ultimately our goal is to support the concept of community, shared responsibility and diversity. To cultivate in each child or remind each child of their right to explore, create and take ownership of their work and sense of self in the environment and beyond.
While true diversity is inherently for and about all, our team of leaders are mainly people of colour which has an impact in and of itself. Children of colour have the opportunity to connect with people who physically and culturally represent them. People in closer likeness to them who have elevated themselves through education and pursuing their personal and professional passions.
“We work with these kids with the intention of sharing, supporting and changing their narratives, rather than the intention of saving them. Instead of offering the proverbial fish, we pull at the thread of what it means to learn to fish instead – a world of possibility they could tap into to uplift themselves rather than be only temporarily uplifted by others,” offers Stefanie as a final word.
We rely on donations and the support of volunteers to facilitate our five week program at no cost to the schools chosen for participation. Please get in touch should you wish to contribute equipment, nutritious snacks, your time or expertise.
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