Ocean Safari

Today was a remarkable, special day: an ICGL awe-filled, wholehearted, learning day. After a full night’s rest at Oceans House, a research facility in Mossel Bay (a four hour drive from Cape Town), we began helping the field specialists and interns with their ocean research.

We helped the Oceans Team complete research in tide pools by counting the number of individual species we saw within a specific tide pool. Tide pools are a habitat for sea life. The health and biodiversity of tide pools is symbolic of the health of the total ocean system as it withstands changes to our world and the environment. We also learned about invasive species that threaten the aquatic ecosystem here in South Africa, such as the Mediterranean Blue mussels. Invasive species threaten healthy ecosystems around the planet. In Atlanta, we have an opportunity to learn how Kudzo, the African Honey Bee,the Ambrosia beetle, and the Boll Weevil threaten the many species in the our local ecosystem.

Our Conservation Cohort also learned how action research works: we collected Great White Shark research with The Oceans Team. We embarked on a boat and chummed for sharks. Chumming is the practice of throwing small bits of mashed up sardines mixed with ocean water right over the boat. The purpose of chumming is to attract the sharks with the scent. The chum makes an oily pathway throughout the water and the sharks follow the pathway to the boat. The purpose is not to feed the sharks but to attract them with the scent so that when they come close to the boat. We can identify them and record their markings to discover the migration patterns and eventually calculate the total number of sharks in the bay.

While we were out on the boat, we saw seven sharks, multiple pods of dolphins, one whale, and thousands of seals all who live on one tiny island, Seal Island. We watched the sun set over Seal Island:a spectacular way to end our Pacetastic day.
@Mrs5er @KSandlinITRT @MEBnow #loveourschool #pdchacha

Long Walk to South Africa

If one person can make a difference, imagine what 400+ Pace Lower School Eco-Knights could do!

We landed in Cape Town after 20+ hours of flying time. We then woke this morning tired and unready to face the day, but were excited to explore. After delicious South African coffee, thanks to the Commodore Hotel, we met the energetic and passionate Michelle from Two Oceans Aquarium. Her energy gave us the power to face the day! Michelle gave us the behind scenes tour of the aquarium, named after the junction where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Michelle is an aquarist at the aquarium who got her start because she was passionate about conservation and aquatic life. Throughout the aquarium tour, we were able to see the forever system of recycling oceanic water into and out of the aquarium. We are forever thankful for Michelle and our aquarium experience. (Especially meeting the African & Rockhopper penguins)

While in Cape Town we discovered that South Africa is in a drought. That means that every household and every hotel has to measure the amount of water they use. We discovered, through the aquarium, tips on how to conserve water. Michelle said, “You don’t think about it, until you have no more.” In South Africa, no longer is it a choice. They MUST conserve water.

After the aquarium, we then took a ferry to Robben Island, a place for political prisoners, during Apartheid. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island for 18 of his 27 year sentence because of his desire for social equality. It was a moving experience for all of us, hearing the details from a former prisoner.

On the way back to Cape Town from Robben Island, we watched the sunset from the ferry, a beautiful ending to our first day in South Africa.

Such beauty here now
Good friends in South Africa
It’s all about Pace