Schoolchildren from La Réunion who won awards in the Oceano Pour Tous 2023 competition have been congratulated in person after representatives from the Oceanographic Institute travelled to the Indian Ocean island.
The Oceano Pour Tous competition was set up in 2014 as a way of inspiring young minds around the world to consider the deep importance of the oceans as well as raising awareness about the environmental aspects the seas have on our way of life.
Some 600 students participated in this year’s edition and the winning classes received their awards at a ceremony held in the Musée Océanographique de Monaco in June.
However, two out of nine of the winning classes of students were unable to make the journey to the Principality… Because they are based in La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, some 8,700 kilometres away as the seabird flies!
So, on 5th July, representatives from Monaco’s Oceanographic Institute travelled to La Réunion to celebrate the wins of Collège Quartier Français Lucet Langenier and Collège Chemin Morin at the Regional Council of Reunion.
The College Prize was received by sixth graders from the former who had focused on how climate change is affecting the local ecosystems, including threatened wildlife and bleached coral. The students produced a logbook on the MicroplAstics anDCorAls PathogenS (MADCAP) project being led by the Société des Explorations de Monaco in the Indian Ocean. They also produced videos, posters, poems and stories to raise awareness of the issues they uncovered.
The main prize was a donation of up to €5,000 in support an organisation practicing ocean awareness activities as well as a boat trip and a visit to the local Natural History Museum and its acclimatisation garden. They also toured the Mascarin chocolate factory, a partner and supporter of the Oceano Pour Tous competition.
The Coup de Coeur Prize was won by sixth graders from the Collège Chemin Morin, who had produced a project on coral reefs and their importance by taking an educational snorkelling trip into a lagoon followed by a coral cutting workshop. They produced a video based on their experiences, which they plan to use as an awareness-raising tool.
This team won €1,000 to be donated to an association dealing with ocean awareness activities as well as an outing to the Saint-Gilles aquarium. Furthermore, they were given financial support from Mascarin to get their video broadcast on Air Austral Airlines.
During the visit to the picturesque island, the Oceanographic Institute announced the launch of the contest’s 2023-24 edition, which will open up to entries from not only La Réunion, but also the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius.
“In the wake of the major Monaco Explorations mission carried out last fall in the Indian Ocean, the call for projects will open up to students from countries located in this region of the world,” said Robert Calcagno, Director General of the Oceanographic Institute. “By opening this competition to them, we want to remind you that there is only one ocean, that all ecosystems are interdependent, but that for each of them we must propose responses adapted to local issues and their specificities, and therefore young ambassadors as close as possible to their territories to implement them.”
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Photo credits: Anthony Calascione