GFDD’s RDescubre Program Inspires Environmental Stewardship through Education
Santo Domingo, March 18, 2014Tweet
GFDD’s RDescubre Program in collaboration with Listín Diario’s Plan Lea, organized an educational whale-watching excursion on March 15th. As part of Geography Week (Semana de la Geografía), the aim of the trip was to promote the exploration of nature, particularly of protected areas. A total of 43 outstanding students were selected from 9 schools in Santiago and Santo Domingo to participate is this amazing adventure.
Students came from the Salome Ureña School, Los Trinitarios II Educational Center, Unión Panamericana School, Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia School and the Pilar Constanzo, Santa Ana, Simón Orozco and Braulio Paulino Polytechnics. The students were accompanied by 14 teachers as well as members of the Plan Lea and GFDD teams.
The excursion set off early last Saturday from FUNGLODE headquarters in Santo Domingo to Samaná, where they boarded a Moto Marina boat and sailed to the Marine Mammal Sanctuary, to enjoy their whale watching tour. The Bay of Samaná forms part of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary, which receives the largest concentration of North Atlantic Humpback Whales in the world. Each year between January and March, the sanctuary receives an estimated 5,000 whales, presenting a natural spectacle of beauty and agility for all to enjoy.
Although a bit seasick and under a soft rain, the students’ enthusiasm was not dampened as they managed to catch sight of several humpback whales in their natural calving and mating grounds.
Veterinarian and whale specialist, Lleana González, accompanied the students and explained the different types of behavior among the whales and answered lots of questions about the lives of these incredible marine mammals.
The tour concluded with a stop on Cayo Levantado Island where students enjoyed a traditional Samaná lunch and took a swim in the sea.
After returning to port, the group visited the CEBSE Whale Museum & Nature Center, where they were given a guided tour of the Museum and learned even more about the natural history of whales.
The RDescubre program is an initiative of GFDD, which aims to provide underserved students and communities with the opportunity to take part in educational expeditions all over the Dominican Republic as a way of seeing and appreciating the country’s beautiful landscapes and the wealth of its natural resources. The program helps connect youth to the environment through positive experiences and, over the long run, encourages and motivates them to become involved in the care and protection of the environment. Through these adventures, participants are inspired to become activists in their own local communities and to work together for a common cause, while inspiring others through their experiences.
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