Dear Mr. Garrett:
Your work, saving whales and the waters they inhabit, is important in
maintaining an ecological balance. As an educator of very young children,
how do I excite the children I teach to continue the efforts made on their
behalf? It is true the spark must be ignited. How can I implement a
lifelong interest in ecological causes when the children I teach will never
see an ocean because of their living in the Arizona Sonoran Desert?
Thank you for your reply.
Dear Ms. Peterman,
Short of field trips to Baja California or other whale-watching locations,
my suggestion is to expose the children to some of the many wonderful media
productions now available. Check with National Wildlife Federation
Productions (8925 Leesburgpike, Vienna VA 23184) or other distributors of
videos, books, posters, etc. And simply talk to the children and see what
their images of the ocean and its inhabitants are, and how they feel about
the sea. My guess is that its much the same whether talking to children or
adults in that you need to start with their personal experiences and
beliefs, and build a conversation from there.
It may be most useful to draw from a scientific public opinion survey to
answer that essential question. The recommendations excerpted below have
been developed by the O'Brien McConnell Pearson & West research group on
behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund's Oceans Project (Sept. 14, 1999).
I'll be happy to email you the entire results if you'd like.
1. Without fail, efforts to communicate with people about ocean protection
should be grounded in the positive and strongly felt emotional content of
their personal ocean experiences.
2. Start POSITIVE and start PERSONAL. Even when communicating about serious
ocean problems, it is important to first make a connection based upon the
positive personal associations that people have with the oceans.
3. In discussing the need to protect the oceans, it's important to draw on
the fact that people's descriptions of the ocean frequently dwell on sea
life-especially on whales, sharks and dolphins.
4. Another essential element in making a connection with people on the
topic of oceans is drawing on the fact that the oceans are closely tied in
the public imagination to the values of peace, comfort and tranquility.
Tokitae Orca Conservation Foundation
2403 So. North Bluff Rd.
Greenbank WA 98253
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