As part of this year’s 21 Days for the Ocean campaign, White Shark Projects has launched the Ocean Defenders programme, an opportunity for 10 youngsters from the Gansbaai area to gain knowledge and skills to help protect the ocean environment.

Youngsters from the Ocean Defenders programme, along with volunteers and interns from White Shark Projects, enjoyed a braai and a day of learning with Stanford-based River Rat Boat Cruises, at the first event of the 21 Days campaign. The children were introduced to at least 21 different species of birds, including an African Fish Eagle and Malachite Kingfisher.

Now in its fifth year, the 21 Days for the Ocean campaign spreads the message of “ocean optimism and awareness not just in our local communities in the Overstrand, but also globally”, says Charmaine Beukes, managing director of White Shark Projects.

“Our 2019 theme is ‘The Ocean in Us’. Every one of us is connected to the ocean in some way – whether it is spiritually or through recreational activities, through our food or our work. We hope to improve people’s understanding that no matter what walk of life you are from, the ocean is integral to our health and prosperity.”

The 10 young marine enthusiasts in the Defender programme will participate one weekend a month in an educational activity. Planned events include coastal clean-ups, rock pooling, lessons in shark biology, conservation and pollution, environmental movie days with popcorn, visits to the Cape Town Aquarium and the Betty’s Bay penguin colony, and planting trees. 

This year, the public is welcome to join the Pearly Beach clean-up on 14 September, a half-day event starting from 08:00 in collaboration with Gansbaai & Pearly Beach Horse Trails. On 20 September, a tree planting day will be held at a location to be confirmed. Local businesses and individuals are also welcome to come to an Open Day on 10 September at the Recycle Swop Shop in Masakane, Gansbaai to learn how this award-winning recycling initiative works. 

For more information contact 071 318 0079 or email volunteer@whitesharkprojects.co.za

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