20 April 2021, Apia, Samoa – The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) campus at Vailima was abuzz with activity this morning as it opened its doors to almost 100 students between the age of 11 and 13 from Pesega Primary School in Samoa.
It has been over a year since the SPREP Compound has been able to host visitors due to COVID-19. Prior to that, the Secretariat hosted educational visits on a regular basis as part of outreach activities.
The Year 7 students, accompanied by their teachers, visited the SPREP compound to find out more about the work that the Secretariat does to protect our Pacific environment and to find out about the types of projects conducted by SPREP across the Pacific.
The school visit was coordinated by SPREP’s Knowledge Management team, in collaboration with experts from SPREP’s four programmes – Climate Change Resilience, Environmental Monitoring and Governance, Island and Ocean Ecosystems, and Waste Management and Pollution Control.
The experts gave brief presentations to the students, explaining the work they do in their respective areas, and how they all contribute to achieving SPREP’s vision of building a resilient Pacific environment that can sustain our livelihoods, in harmony with our culture and natural heritage.
The students were presented with a wide range of information, from the difference between “weather”, “climate” and “climate change”, to the importance of State of the Environment Reports and why countries need to have them, to mangroves and how vital they are to our environment, and the different types of waste and why it is important to have proper waste management in place.
“My favourite thing that I learned today was the difference between El Nino and La Nina. I now understand more about what these weather events are and what happens during each of them,” said Mr Jayden Joseph aged 13.
The students also participated in fun pop quizzes about the information they had just learned, where they won prizes such as mini thermometers, stickers, USB sticks and reusable bags.
Some of the students shared their thoughts about their visit to SPREP, with most saying that they learned the importance of protecting our environment as it provides them with things they need in order to survive, such as oxygen and food.
“My favourite part about the presentations was when Vai was showing us photos of mangroves and telling us the importance of mangroves," said Ms Yaileh Ulupoao, aged 11.
The school students and teachers were presented with educational and awareness materials and resources that will aid their learnings when they return to the classroom.
The Pesega School visit to the SPREP Compound in Samoa took place on 20 April, 2021.