Sandwatch : Introducing Young People to Scientific Method through Beach Monitoring

Hurricanes and cyclones are frequent occurrences in many small-island regions, regularly causing extensive and costly damage to beaches and other coastal habitats. Training school children in the scientific observation of beaches and the effects of disturbance through hurricanes, storm surges and other natural hazards is among the goals of the Sandwatch’ beach monitoring scheme -- a joint initiative of two UNESCO sectors (Education and Natural Sciences, through the Associated Schools Project network and the Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) Platform), the UNESCO Office in Kingston and the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant Program. Sandwatch provides a framework whereby students, with the help of their teachers and communities, critically evaluate the problems and conflicts facing their beach environments, and then develop sustainable approaches to address these issues. As such, it contributes to several chapters of the Mauritius Strategy, including those on Coastal and marine resources (IV) and Sustainable capacity development and education for sustainable development (XIV), as well as Natural and environmental disasters (II).

Among recent publications is a manual and guide Introduction to Sandwatch: An Educational Tool for Sustainable Development, published in September 2005, followed by a second and revised edition under the title 'Sandwatch: Adapting to Climate Change and Educating for Sustainable Development', published in September 2010. These publications and the broader Sandwatch initiative represent a contribution to the Decade on Education for Sustainable Development, with discussions underway with partners in the different regions on more holistic approaches involving several island ecosystems and habitats (mountains, rivers, mangroves, as well as beaches). Several earlier CSI publications provide information on methodology and approach, including a practical guide on coping with beach erosion and a series of ten illustrated coloured booklets on shoreline change in Caribbean islands.

For further details, go to the Sandwatch website: http://www.sandwatch.ca

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