Learning to Protect What You Love
"People protect what they love." Jacques Cousteau
These are simple and profound words from a man that fell in love with the sea as a boy and then learned as much as he could about it the rest of his life. But he didn't just enjoy time under the water, he also spent much of his life being a champion of the seas and teaching people about the underwater wonders he experienced.
We often have to be taught about something to understand it, don't we? We can't just expect someone to understand why we should protect the oceans without teaching them why the oceans are so important to our world. This is one of the reasons I am passionate about teaching my kids as much as I can about the oceans. In the previous blog posts of this conservation series I highlighted lots of different ways to do just that. Today I am featuring three of my favorite books (for kids and adults!) to learn more about the mysteries of the sea. I will also tell you about a great activity that will allow your kids' imaginations to go wild as they pretend to be deep sea diving!
Manfish by Jennifer Berne has quickly become one of our favorite books to read aloud! It starts when Jacques Cousteau is a young boy and he is curious about the world around him. Why do boats float? How do cameras work? Why do rocks sink? As an adult he took this curiosity and developed a waterproof case for his camera and even invented the first "aqua lung" allowing him to dive deep in the water and still breathe. Jacques and his friends traveled the world exploring the oceans and filming what they saw. For the first time they made this underwater world available to millions of people all over the world!
My kids love this book because they can relate to Jacques Cousteau's sense of wonder at the world around them. They enjoy learning about his inventions and imagining how they can invent something to get to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. It reminds them to continue to be filled with wonder and to keep exploring.
Shark Lady by Jess Keating chronicles the life of Eugenie Clark who was an oceanographer as well as a protector of sharks. As a little girl she wondered what it would be like to swim with sharks and she filled notebooks with what she learned. She went on to earn a doctorate in zoology and then started diving with sharks. She made incredible discoveries about sharks (they don't always have to keep moving to stay alive!) and even found new species of fish. Eugenie Clark worked her whole life to dispel the ideas that sharks were mindless killers. She wanted everyone to know that they deserved to be protected and studied.
My kids love this book because it encourages them to be brave when exploring. They also think it's cool that Eugenie wasn't afraid of sharks (she was the first person to train sharks!) My kids hope that if we read this book enough I will allow our house to be turned into a laboratory like her childhood home!
The Brilliant Deep by Kate Messner also follows the life of one person making a huge impact on the health of our oceans, Ken Nedimyer. He has slowly been repopulating the oceans' coral reefs, one coral at a time. He grew up loving the oceans, shows about Jacques Cousteau, and going to the beach whenever he could. As an adult he was saddened to see so many coral reefs dying but he didn't let that get him down. He pioneered a way to grow staghorn corals on his live rock farm and he is still successfully transplanting coral and teaching other people how to do it as well.
My kids love this book because it teaches them that great things "start with one." Wonderful things can start with one person making a concerted effort towards making a difference. They take joy in seeing how one person can start with a single piece of coral and it then turns into several people planting tens of thousands of new coral colonies.
Deep Sea Diving Activity
After reading these books my kids wanted nothing more than to be in the water exploring! But since that isn't feasible to do everyday I found an activity that let everyone imagine what it would be like to swim deep in the ocean.
You can use the "scuba diving vacation" page from the "Maps Activity Book" (or any map of the oceans) and tell your kids to imagine they are deep sea diving anywhere in the world! Use the coordinating "Maps" book to pick any spot in the world and "go diving." Find out what animals live in that part of the ocean and research them. Some of our favorite ways to research about ocean life are to look up what they eat, how big they get, and where they live. This "Ocean" book is an amazing resource for research, too. Have fun with it and let your imaginations go wild! This is a perfect child-led learning activity. And without fail, I always learn something new alongside my kids.
I hope we can all agree that it is an important task to teach our kids (the future leaders!) about the importance of the ocean. By teaching our kids to appreciate everything the ocean provides us with, we also instill in them a respect for the natural world. May we never lose the wonder we had for the natural world as kids.
This is the fifth post in a series on ocean conservation. You can find the previous post here.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you need to check out my friend's beautiful blog for more book recommendations and fun activities to do with your kids this summer! Maria will have you and your kids #outside and #innature in no time! And if you've enjoyed reading my blog, head on over and tell Maria "Thank you!" She is the motivation and encouragement behind all the hard work here.
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