Nominate a teacher to host a class from The National Aquarium
The largest aquarium in the Middle East, The National Aquarium at Al Qana in Abu Dhabi, is underway with a first-of-its-kind programme to inspire the school children at the aquarium.
The curriculum is covering four key topics, from the UAE’s coastal heritage to conservation. These are designed to share knowledge and spark interest amongst children about the natural world. Until such a time school excursions recommence, The National Aquarium is offering free online sessions to the education community, but with a twist!
In response to the new challenges presented by Covid-19, The National Aquarium is running ‘Professor’s Aquademy’ virtually to schools. ‘Professor’ is a beautiful Water Monitor Lizard (around two metres in length!) that will keep children captivated as their nominated teacher will actually enter the habitat for a hands-on teaching experience with Professor, as well as rehabilitated Sea Turtles and other fascinating animals from all around the world.
Students are able to nominate one teacher from their school to visit the aquarium and livestream the experience with the students. During the interactive video session, the education team will introduce informative and fun topics to provide a flavour of the aquarium’s innovative school tours to the students.
‘Professor’ the Water Monitor Lizard, was hand-reared and trained by a certified breeding facility in Los Angeles that meets all the international standards. The ‘Professor’ started his career in Hollywood pictured with numerous celebrities but now in Abu Dhabi, his role as education ambassador will help many UAE students to access and learn about the wonders of the natural world at the aquarium.
The Water Monitor is a good ambassador for this programme because as a species, it plays a key role in forests, rivers and coastlines, moving across multiple habitats, which are all represented within The National Aquarium’s ten zones.
Education is a priority for The National Aquarium to enlighten all generations on the natural world around them, and the concept of conservation. Inspired by Baba Dioum, a celebrated Senegalese environmentalist, this programme is designed to open school children’s minds through knowledge and understanding. Baba Dioum’s quote motivates the education team every day, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
Anne Bourbon, Manager of Education & Conservation at The National Aquarium comments: “The introduction of our education programme and ‘Professor’ is an important component of the aquarium’s ethos – becoming a regional role model in both conservation and education. At The National Aquarium, we always look for fun, interactive and responsible ways to educate our community and visitors. What we are offering is an approach to learn by getting closer to animals and their environments, with the desire of inspiring young minds to reconnect with nature and think of solutions to achieving a sustainable future. We are convinced that playful learning (edutainment) can have a positive and appealing impact on a child’s education.
“Monitor Lizards are fascinating animals and ‘Professor’ is an excellent choice as our ambassador since he grew up in close contact with people, particularly children. Moreover, he also represents the connection between land and aquatic environments. He will be the star of our school programs and we are thrilled to introduce him to the students in the UAE for a memorable experience.”
Schools and teachers in Abu Dhabi can request a free online educational session to meet ‘Professor’ and set up a video conference call. Ultimately, these educational programmes will be held in person at The National Aquarium when restrictions lift.