We Love SRKW!
- Grade 3
- Grade 4
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Our passion for Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) was ignited by two in-class Aquatic Species at Risk workshops given by facilitators at Sea Smart. SRKW are listed as endangered due to their decreasing population size, which currently sits at a very low 72. The main factors contributing to this sad reality are noise pollution caused by marine vessels, a lack of Chinook salmon in the ocean (their main prey), and an abundance of plastic pollution that is entering the food chain.
The Research and Creation of An Action Plan
Division 10 participated in Sea Smart’s workshop series and then learned more about SRKW through watching many videos, reading books from the library, making observations from provocation boards, and having class discussions.
• The importance of caring for the ocean - 2 out of every breaths taken are given to us by the ocean!
• The importance of being responsible stewards of the Earth to ensure that ecosystems and species continue to thrive rather than become endangered.
• The importance of reducing our consumption of single-use plastics because these make up the majority of marine plastic debris - both SRKW and Chinook salmon are negatively affected by plastic pollutants.
• The importance of all species in an ecosystem - the health of SRKW is completely reliant on a healthy population of Chinook salmon.
The Actions Taken, The Impact, and Reflection
Our learning took place from October 2019 to February 2020 through Sea Smart's two workshops and multiple in-class lessons. We also had a visitor from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who shared her expertise on SRKW. Her presentation touched on factors threatening the recovery of the whales' populations and included recordings of whale vocalizations. On Sea Smart's third and final visit, the students in Division 10 presented their thoughtfully created art projects along with relevant facts learned about SRKW, their aquatic species at risk. Students were divided into 4 groups, each with a focus: Marine Vessels, Food Supply, Maine Debris, and SRKW. The students did an amazing job collaborating together as well as representing their learning visually and orally.
Division 10 also decided to organize a bake sale fundraiser in support of SRKW, which promoted our project to others in the Moberly community through posters and PA announcements. A total of $413.05 was raised over the course of two days and will be donated to Ocean Wise's Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program! The money will help fund conservation-oriented research.
Our class has contributed to the community through school grounds clean ups and will soon be participating in a shoreline clean up organized with Sea Smart. This experience will offer students an eye-opening look at the reality of how plastic pollution is so closely tied with the ocean. Following this, we will begin collecting single-use plastics consumed over the course of the school day to bring further awareness to consumption habits and possible alternatives. Division 10 would then like to challenge other classes in the school to curb their consumption of single-use plastics, too!
Our project definitely brought awareness to the students in Division 10 as well as to many other students, families, and staff.
The Next Steps
As their teacher, my hope is that the students in Division 10 have been inspired to think of themselves as having the power to contribute to the health of the Earth and its many inhabitants, both human and not. I hope that they will continue to share their knowledge and passion for the natural world with friends and family.