Committee members Anne Hill and John Laband accompanied 32 learners from Emil Weder High School to the Shark Research Institute, Whale House Museum and De Wet Huis on 20 October 2015. The school provided transport free of charge, and caterer Gertie Plaatjies was contracted to provide muffins and a delicious chicken and salad lunch for all the learners.
The learners were in two groups: Grade 10 and Grade 11. The Grade 12 class was writing final examinations, so were unable to participate.
The younger group visited the Whale House Museum on Market Square where they inspected the exhibition and then watched the audio-visual Whale Show which tells the fascinating story of the life of whales with special focus on the visiting southern right whales. The children were most impressed and came away with a strong conservationist sense of the threat whaling still poses to these marvelous creatures. They then went next door to the De Wet's Huis Photo Museum where they followed the history in pictures of Hermanus from fishing village to modern town. To consolidate, they visited the nearby Old Harbour Museum with its exhibits of the local fishing and whaling industry. These last two museums were very effective in giving the children an insight into a community's substantial changes over time.
The senior group visited the Shark Research Institute where, after an informative introduction by a visiting Danish marine biologist and researcher, they viewed a variety of species of live shark specimens swimming in tanks. The more courageous students were able to handle some of the sharks, and the whole group was fascinated by both the experience of encountering these iconic creatures, as well as by the researcher’s commentary. After viewing the sharks and other marine creatures, the group observed a dissection of a shark that was part of a project to examine the effects of various food sources on sharks’ health. The session gave the students a first-hand introduction to marine biology and scientific investigation.
We thank the donors who made this valuable education experience possible.