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During this year’s summer holidays, Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) is launching the Junior Marine Biology program for budding conservationists aged 6 to 16. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the program pairs one-on-one mentoring from the 10 MUI marine biologists with a “choose your own adventure” structure that allows the junior marine biologists to design their own personalized program.
Marteyne van Well, Six Senses Laamu general manager, says, “This program is truly unique. Unlike anything I’ve seen in the Maldives, it’s more than just a “be a marine biologist for a day’ experience. This is multiple sessions over the length of a guest’s stay that will help foster deeper engagement and understanding of marine biology.”
One of the largest marine teams in the Maldives, MUI’s 10 regular marine biologists have expertise in fields such as coral restoration, turtles, manta rays, seagrass and fisheries management. Young conservationists have the opportunity to be involved in ongoing research projects such as expanding the resort’s turtle database of 420 individuals, or joining the coral biologist in restoring the reef with the mid-water rope coral nursery.
The only resort in the southern Maldives’ Laamu Atoll, Six Senses Laamu has pristine coral reefs, abundant seagrass beds, and mangrove forests right on its doorstep. Rich in marine life, these environments provide the perfect opportunity to see first-hand the importance of conserving the oceans.
Shelley Turnbull, Junior Marine Biology program coordinator, says the program will tap into the passion of future ocean stewards and encourage them to protect these habitats in Laamu and across the globe.
“We want our Junior Marine Biologists to have the tools they need and be empowered to create change back at home. Every action and every person, no matter how small, can have a positive impact on ocean conservation. We have already seen today’s youth coming up with innovative solutions to the problems past generations have created, such as plastic pollution. Take BioCellection for example; what began as an idea following a field trip to the local waste facility by high school seniors is now an enterprise turning plastics in landfill into chemicals to be used again.”
Young guests who are interested in becoming a Junior Marine Biologist can register their interest at the time of their booking and be greeted on arrival by the MUI team, ready to begin their adventure.
With uninhabited islands all around this remote atoll in the Maldives, Six Senses Laamu may feel like paradise lost. But it’s a brilliant place to find your calling, perhaps by contributing to community life above and below water.