From USA to the Gulf of Taranto!
25 young high school students from the United States of America studying cetaceans and sea turtles in our research area.
This is what happened in June and July.
Our dolphins, whales and sea turtles and our method to study and preserve them have been experienced by these youngsters coming from several States and different realities.
All this, thanks to Broadreach, that for more than 20 years organizes students travels worldwide.
A step back... how do they end up here?
One year ago I have organized with my NGO, GreenRope, the "Marine Biology Camp", 5 days deep in contact with the world of Marine Biology, studying cetaceans (thanks to the collaboration of the Jonian Dolphin Conservation) & Sea Turtles (thanks to the collaboration of the WWF Policoro).
In April and in September 55 youngsters from many different countries (Italy, Hungary, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Lebanon, Trinidad & Tobago, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and more) have been the participants of several activities like dolphin & whale watching and studies about their beaviour, photo ID and acoustics, sea turtles' nesting workshops, care of sea turtles in the rehabilitation center, use and maintenance of the instruments and tanks, specific workshops about marine biology and conservation and more.
Here it is what we have realized during the Marine Biology Camps (video by Andrea Gernone - my best friend and colleague):
And this was 2017... going back to 2018...
After this experience some people of Broadreach noticed this video and other news on a journal about it and they have contacted us to organize a camp together and, as you already know, we have realized 2 camps of 9 days each for them, one in June and one in July.
I was leading the camps in all their aspects and thanks over all to the support of Carmelo, founder of the JDC, (I lost the count of how many times I called him during those days) and Gianluca, coordinator of the activities at the WWF Oasi, we did something great!
We have hosted these students in the Oasi WWF Policoro, partner of the project for what concerned Sea Turtles activities.
12 students for the first camp and 13 for the second one.
The first camp hasn't been so lucky for the weather conditions but we could move all the activities like pieces of a puzzle and everything was great.
Several sighting by the sea of Striped dolphins and one Common dolphin on the research vessel of the JDC; 2 Sea Turtles released to freedom after the treatment and months in observation with the WWF Policoro and many workshops realized, some of them by the researchers of the National Council of Research, partner of the JDC.
In july the weather have been great and the activities related to sea turtles studies and conservation have been basically the same but by the sea we could observe much more species of cetaceans: Striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, risso's dolphins & 2 big Sperm Whale on the last day of activity!
9 days full of activities and emotions, waking up at sunrise in order to make the monitoring of the coasts looking for sea turtles tracks and nests, by foot and using a drone.
All the activities were based on non-formal ways of learning and 2 trainers from Broadreac, Katie & Matt, were always motivating the students to take active part in every workshop and activity and they were supporting them with several other brainstorming moments.
Leading projects like this is one of my dream, that's why we have created the "Marine Biology Camp".
What I want, what I have in my mind is that "my" territory, the lands that I love and that I want to preserve will become the place where youngsters from every part of the world will go to study cetaceans and sea turtles.
What I can do for my beloved dolphins, whales and sea turtles is to support the important research studies that we are realizing with something important as well: spreading out our words, reaching youngsters, Ngo, organizations, public and private entities worldwide, to show to the world "ehy, we are here and our Gulf, our sea is wonderfull, please, join us and give us the chance to show its value and to preserve it and the creatures living in it as they deserve".
This is one of my dreams. The others are... you will discover it following my blog ;)
If you would like to have a look of what we have created and did together, take a look of these pics!
Here you have some of my highlights of the workshops activities and the leisure moments as well, always related to discover, live and experience wildlife:
Ps. A huge thanks to the greatest trainers ever, Katie and Matt, the coordinators of the groups of students in both projects. You are amazing people, kind, funny and hard workers. I wish you the best and I hope to see you sooner or later wherever in the world or maybe in the USA. I am sure we will meet again dear friends.