Primary school teachers learned more about seagrass meadows and seahorses
Between June 3 and July 11, a Training Course for teachers from pre-school to primary school at the E.B. 2,3 Santo António, called "In the seagrass meadows all the horses are seahorses", accredited by the Scientific and Pedagogical Council for Continuous Training, which was attended by 20 trainees.
The action, organised by our researchers of the SEAGHORSE and Blue Forests Education projects, included sessions where basic theoretical and practical concepts were addressed for the understanding of the ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows and the biology and ecology of seahorses.
A field trip to Ria Formosa was also carried out, including a visit to the seahorse’s sanctuary and the Ramalhete Aquaculture Station where these animals are bred.
As a result, the teachers designed proposals of educational activities to be carried out with the students on this theme, which were shared in a forum so that all trainees can adapt them in their respective schools.
The Ria Formosa is suffering anthropogenic disturbances that lead to the decline of the seagrass beds and some organisms associated with them, such as seahorses. In 2001 it was home to the highest density of seahorses in the world, which is now dramatically reduced to 10% of the population. These charismatic species use the seagrass beds to camouflage themselves and capture prey, holding onto the plants with their tails.
The SEAGHORSE project which is a collaboration between CCMA, the University of Algarve and the Belmiro de Azevedo Foundation aims to change this situation by investigating the role of seagrass in the trophic ecology of seahorses and carrying out seagrass restoration and repopulation actions.
An important aspect of this project is its educational intervention which is also being developed in the project "Blue Forests - Boosting Blue Forests Education and Capacity Building", financed by EEA Grants. Schools in the Algarve, Setúbal and Norway are being involved, with the objective of training and qualifying teachers and carrying out educational and curricular projects to be developed in schools.