by Kit Yu Karen Chan
COSEE-China in the polar region!
Time flies and this is the last day of our COSEE-China workshop.
We gathered early in the morning to visit the Ocean Polar World of Qingdao before we catch our flights. It was quite amazing to see the wide range of animals on display and the size of the crowd in the exhibition halls. With our marine educator hats on, it was quite encouraging to see the great potential for teaching and learning to happen in a venue like the Ocean Polar World. For examples, the charismatic penguins and polar bears can be a good set way into what are the differences between the Artic and Antarctic; and the signage congratulating Chinese researchers to research Dome C can be elaborated into interactive station on how research is done in the Polar Regions. After all, learning can take place anywhere and we should help facilitate that progress. (am I right, Laura, the “informal education person” on board?) I look forward to seeing many visitors benefit from the collaborations between researchers, zoos and aquariums and COSEE-China in the future.
One world, One Ocean
“One world, one dream” was the theme of the 2008 Beijing Olympics which reflects the universal values of the Olympic spirit — Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream.
This international collaborative effort of COSEE-China planning workshop shared similar values and highlighted the similarities between the States and China i.e., the importance of the ocean to us, our impact on the ocean, the challenges and demand of ocean literacy for all and the passion for our ocean. Because there is only one big ocean on our planet, we are all bound to work together.
Through creativity and emphasizing on excellence, COSEE-US has successfully impacted people from all walks on lives in various manners. However, good programs could not succeed with out good people. Members of COSEE are like family who supports each other. Despite our backgrounds are different, we share the passion for ocean education and common goals. I believe the friendship that we have built over the last few days both between the Chinese and US participants will not fade because of distance because we know we are still connected together through our big ocean.
As the name of the workshop suggested, this is just the planning stage. The end of this workshop is the beginning of a lot of exciting projects to come. We are happy to report that our Chinese colleagues are going to hold a 2nd meeting in a few months to discuss details of the establishment of a national centers and pilot projects, and the Ocean University of China is planning to host an International Meeting on Interdisciplinary Teaching in Ocean Sciences in late 2010 or early 2011. This was a very good start, I believe. Like the Olympic Games, the planning workshop itself might come to an end but the values got passed on and start to inspire many through different channels. So, stay tuned for new developments of COSEE-China and its activities.