December 21st, 2018, at 14.04 pm. 'The speedboat took us offshore for more than 40 minutes. Everyone was freezing from the winter sea breeze. Suddenly, about 20 meters away from our boat, a white dolphin came out of the sea, followed by a gray dolphin. They started to peek up from the water and they seemed to be smiling at us. It seemed they were not swimming very fast. They peeked out of the water at least once every minute, as if they were counting the number of people on a boat'.
The SWIS Dolphin Club attended 'The First Ocean Park International Conservation STEAM Competition' last June 20th to 22nd. Students from all around the world were invited to submit their creative proposals to help solve various different environmental issues. The competition aims to encourage students to apply their knowledge and skills in STEAM-related disciplines to solve real-life problems, especially encouraging them to use their creativity to propose innovative solutions for global environmental issues.
SWIS Dolphin club members, Danny, Celina, Lucy, Winnie, and Sofia all from grade 9 shared their amazing, warm and inspiring topic – HOW LIFE TOUCHES OUR HEARTS. They attracted the audience and judges' eyes by showing a set of pink dolphin photos and sharing their practical research on the Chinese White Dolphins.
15 teams were selected to enter the final round of presentations after the first-round of proposal assessments. The SWIS Dolphin Club is the only domestic school team to enter the finals.
The theme of the competition is 'STEAM and Marine Conservation'. Participants could select one of the following three topics and prepare a report: STEAM Action – propose technology-oriented solutions to clean marine debris and conserve marine biodiversity; STEAM Promotion – create art products to promote the reduction of marine debris or the conservation of biodiversity; STEAM Public Awareness – use technology (e.g. virtual reality) to raise the awareness of the general public to reduce marine debris and conserve biodiversity.
Every team showed its innovative report and proposal. One team which focused on action designed a natural decomposing straw to protect the environment, and one used a virtual reality film to promote the use of environmentally friendly enzymes, coffee residue, and soap to protect the ocean. Other teams designed a variety of games featuring marine animals to enhance the public's awareness of marine environmental protection.
Protect wildlife or protect people? Based on the SWIS Dolphin Club's Life Education experience of 'looking for the natural shelter of Chinese White Dolphins' which was organized by Qinzhou Chinese White Dolphin Research Base of Peking University, students interpreted the tripartite relationship among the population, land, and wildlife from three aspects: humanities, scientific research, and environment. During the presentation, they showed their own understanding and research on the Chinese White Dolphins and their natural habitats, and also their practical actions to promote the protection of Chinese White Dolphins, such as the establishment of the SWIS Dolphin Club. They also successfully hosted a variety of charity events to raise funds for the operating cost of an observatory on the water surface. The judges and audience were convinced that human beings should keep to the bottom line of morality and look for a win-win model in developing the social economy and protecting the natural environment.
Although the SWIS Dolphin Club did not win in the end, their organizational abilities and presentation skills were improved upon. In the extremely high temperature, Winnie and Sofia still stuck to their poster presentation even after being exposed to the strong sunshine for hours. They encouraged visitors and participants to get involved in environmental protection by showing what they did in helping protect while dolphins. The competition was only three days, but the team had spent three months in preparation and cooperation. This valuable experience will help boost their confidence, organizational, and intellectual skills in their future development and research on such projects.