A Sea to Explore II: Invasive Specie

On Thursday 18th we hosted our second round of “Un mare per esplorare” (A sea to explore). This week our focused topic was invasive species! After a brief introduction, everyone was given an individual species to “be” for the night. Once everyone created their picture tags, we went around in a circle and re-introduced ourselves by our species name. After doing so we spent some time explaining invasive species and how they affect the marine life in the Mediterranean.

Our first activity of the night was a competitive game for resources. In the first round, each child is a local species searching for oxygen. The floor is covered with 3 different colored balls representing oxygen, food, and substrate. Everyone has a short amount of time to collect as many as they can before they are sent back to count what they’ve caught. Each person needs at least three balls of each subject to pass to the next round without being eliminated.

During the second round, we explained that there is a bloom of alghe, so there is less oxygen. One of the volunteers took 20 oxygen balls out of the population, and the kids were sent out again to collect as much as they could in order to pass on to the next round.

During the third round, a fisherman came and took 30 balls of food, so there was less food in the environment. The species (kids) had to go out, and again collect as much food and oxygen as they could without being eliminated.

In the fourth round, everyone that was eliminated during the first three rounds will become an invasive species and will compete for food and space, playing the game with the natural species but taking less balls then them because they need less to survive, even if they are able to take more.

To finish out this group activity, we discussed the whole game and reiterated the harm that invasive species brings to our marine environments. We explained how these harmful species are more resistant and capable of taking from the resources of the natural specie.

After we finished this activity, we took a snack break! Our treat for the evening was cinnamon rolls and brownies made fresh by some of the volunteers.

Once everyone was ready to begin again, we moved onto our next activity and split up into teams. Each team was assigned a story to present in mimicry to the rest of the group, much like the game charades. The individual stories described how the assigned invasive species arrived, and once the presentation was over, the other groups had to guess the explanation. Each volunteer took a team and guided them to help with the performances.

After all groups had presented their final material, the volunteers summarized what we had learned for the night about invasive species, and hosted one last wrap up game for fun. We’ll be hosting our next session of activities next Thursday in Ieranto Bay! We invite you to come out and have fun with us while learning about our next topic!