Educational activities that will contribute to raising awareness of marine invasive alien species threats in schools will begin in the 2022-2023 academic year
Under the joint initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry-General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DKMPGM) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) focusing on threats posed by invasive alien species in Türkiye’s important marine biodiversity areas, teachers and students’ awareness on this issue will be raised with the support of Teachers Academy Foundation (ÖRAV).
ÖRAV will provide support in raising awareness of invasive alien species in schools and the preparation of primary and secondary school lesson plans. In the 2022-2023 academic year, it is planned to reach around 9,000 students working with 300 teachers.
Marine invasive alien species are defined by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as one of the main threats to Türkiye’s marine biodiversity. As of the end of 2020, 105 of 539 alien species detected in Turkish seas were found invasive. Reducing the impact of these species, controlling and preventing their entry is vital for the future of native species and habitats.
The contributions of ÖRAV, a non-governmental organization supporting the personal and professional development of teachers in Türkiye since 2008, within the scope of the training programme prepared for primary and secondary school teachers in the project pilot regions, were introduced in a meeting held in Ankara on 31 May 2022. At the event, a 90-minute workshop was held for 25 teachers in a classroom environment where they were informed about the project and the training process.
Emphasizing the critical importance of inculcating environmental awareness in children at early ages, Tuba Köseoğlu Okçu, General Director of ÖRAV, said “Our primary mission is to provide support to our teachers in the areas they need, and uphold children’s right to quality education through our teachers. As a country surrounded by seas on three sides, we believe it is vital to preserve marine biodiversity in respect of sustainability efforts in Türkiye. The “Marine Invasive Alien Species Project (MarIAS)” ensured that significant steps were taken on the matter, and we are happy to give our support to the project so that children will have environmental awareness at early ages, learn certain basic concepts, and have knowledge on marine invasive alien species.”
“Addressing Invasive Alien Species Threats at Key Marine Biodiversity Areas (MarIAS) Project” implemented by DKMPGM and UNDP with the financial support of Global Environment Facility (GEF) since 2018, aims to minimize negative impacts of invasive species in support of conserving Türkiye’s globally significant native marine biodiversity.