No fools at the Two Oceans Aquarium on the evening of 1 April 2019; 47 remarkable grade 10 learners gathered to celebrate the completion of their Young Biologist programme. This graduation recognised the commitment these learners showed to discovering what the natural world has to offer through a series of volunteer courses, an environmental education camp, school eco-clubs and environmental improvement projects.
This incredible course was able to be offered for free to these children, thanks to the generous support of De Beers Marine. De Beers Marine has been a strong supporter of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation for many years, and it is with pride that they were represented at this graduation ceremony. This future generation of marine biologists and ocean scientists have already volunteered more than 2 500 hours of their time (a Young Biologist record!) and we are proud that we have been able to help shape these young lives.
What was the course about?
This Young Biologist course was held over the October 2018 school holidays and, thanks to generous sponsorship from De Beers Marine, 54 grade 10 learners with a passion for the marine environment were able to have the full experience of our Marine Sciences Academy. We were delighted to host learners from outside of Cape Town, some coming from as far afield as George, Johannesburg and Durban. The course itself consisted of five days of theory lessons at the Two Oceans Aquarium, oral and written assessments, and a three-day field camp on the Cape Peninsula.
Learners got to explore a wide range of practical and theoretical lessons. From the anatomy of anemones and echinoderms to the scientific investigation of the Cape's rockpool ecosystems there was little time for rest - and lots of time for excitement! The Young Biologist programme is an excellent opportunity for children with a keen interest in the ocean to develop their skills and be exposed to careers in marine science.
The Young Biologist graduation ceremony was opened by Two Oceans Aquarium Head of Education Russell Stevens who welcomed the award recipients, their parents, school principals and the Aquarium's education partners. Russell also took the time to thanks the course sponsor, De Beers Marine: "Without partners like De Beers Marine, something like this would certainly not be as successful as it is today."
The evening's MC, Deputy Head of Education Bianca Engel, introduced De Beers Marine General Manager Domingos Valbom who had some inspiring words for our Young Biologists.
"I've been attending these graduations for a few years [...] and it never stops amazing me, the kind of effort and input that these young students give to this programme. I think it's unbelievable how much hard work they put in willingly, giving up their school holidays, giving up their time to be part of this programme. It really makes me proud to be able to be part of this programme." Mr Valbom continued, "To the young students, make the most of these opportunities. Continue to find opportunities to learn as much as you can. Congratulations to all of you on your achievements, I hope you make the most of what lies before you and make the most of the opportunities that are out there in the world."
The Young Biologists were then addressed by Christie Munro, a former Young Biologist and Two Oceans Aquarium volunteer who has gone on to pursue a career in marine biology and sustainable business. Christie was followed by class representative Logan Smithers who addressed his Young Biologist classmates.
"This course brought us together from all walks of life and we all found a passion, which is the ocean and marine biology, and we've created friendships which I'm sure will last a lifetime. On behalf of all the YBs here I would like to thank De Beers Marine for sponsoring the course and the Two Oceans Aquarium for this amazing opportunity," said Logan.
Young Biologist Course Director Kirshia Koumbatis ended the evening by thanking the evening's attendees, and mentioning the large number of Aquarium staff that began their careers in marine science in the Young Biologist course. A world of opportunity is out there - we hope all out new graduates seize every chance they get.
The Education Award is awarded for excellent presentation skills and commitment to educating visitors, young and old of the Aquarium.
The Director's Award is awarded at the prerogative of the Aquarium CEO to a Young Biologist who has been a hard-working and enthusiastic volunteer both behind-the-scenes and on the Aquarium floor, who has been reliable and who has excelled at educating the public.
The Dive Challenge is awarded to the previous year's Young Biologists who had completed the most volunteer hours to date.
The Diamond Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who start or actively participate in an eco-club, organise an environmental or beach cleanup and score 80% or over in their course assessments.
- Malika Abrahams
- Mila Engelbrecht
- Raeez Fakier
- Tyla Gill
- Genna Grebe
- Leah Jacobs
- Malike Kajee
- Catherine Macgregor
- Elizabeth Marais
- Tahirah Mohamed
- Jashmica Rajkumar
- Barbara Riomayor
- Ayaan Roomanay
- Joshua Scholtz
- Sage Seef
- Kiara Smith
- Logan Smithers
- Mishkah Sparks
- Hannah Subjee
- Megan Thomas
- Laylaa Toefy
- Davina van der Merwe
- Christine van Kloëg
- Mikaela van Otterlo
A Gold Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who start or actively participate in an eco-club or organise an environmental or beach cleanup, and who score 75% or over in their course assessments.
- Lameez Adams
- Amallie Chirere
- Salmaan Daniels
- Indigo Hawkins
- Lilitha Hoyo
- Chad Morta
- Mckenzie Mullins
- Lelam Zwedala
A Bronze Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who complete the course and score 65% or over in their course assessments.
- Kelly Blake
- Marcus Carelse
- Rebecca Dennis
- Jayden Finch
- Kyle Hurst
- Jameyah Ismail
- Nicola Janse van Rensburg
- Jade-Lynn Kallis
- Rabiah Mayman
- Kamva Menziwa
- Decent Moyana
- Amy Murie
- Dayuri Reddi
- Fletcher Vincent
Other education opportunities
There are many ways your children can get involved in environmental education opportunities at the Aquarium. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- School classes, youth groups and other organisations can book a classroom visit that fits in with your curriculum:
- Pre-school: A wide range of interactive Puppet Stories, from I Love Turtles to a Water Cycle Adventure.
- Grade 1-3: Discover underwater wonders and learn about different kinds of fish.
- Grade 4-6: Fun lessons with topics from fish anatomy and marine conservation to the close relatives of sharks.
- Grade 7-9: Lessons from water conservation to rocky shore ecology.
- Grade 10-12: Exciting topics from sharks and ecotourism to biodiversity and anatomy.
- Individual children of all ages can take part in FREE courses from our Marine Science Academy:
- Grade 6: Become Junior Biologists and study marine life and conservation on our coast.
- Grade 7: Learn Smart Living and learn how our lives and the environment interact
- Grade 8: Become a Marine Science Discoverer if you're in grade 8 and learn about careers in ocean science.
- Grade 9: Become Marine Science Explorers - time to get hands-on with ocean life.
- Grade 10: Apply for our flagship Young Biologist course, and jumpstart a marine career.
- Grade 11 & 12: FET Zoology and Oceanography courses - a stepping stone into marine science tertiary studies.
- If you can't get to the Aquarium, we'll come to you!
- A fully equipped mobile aquarium, Oceans in Motion, is on the road - bringing the ocean's wonders and lessons to previously disadvantages schools in the Cape Town area.
- The Smart Living outreach programme engages with learners on key environmental issues such as energy, water, waste and protecting biodiversity.
If you would like to make a booking for your class, get involved in one of the above courses or are an adult looking for training opportunities or to take part in our job shadowing programme, please visit our Environmental Education Centre portal for more information and the relevant contact details.