Six Senses Laamu celebrates success of home-based Junior Marine Biology programme
Six Senses Laamu is celebrating the success of the first batch of budding conservationists that participated in the resort’s new home-based online Junior Marine Biology programme.
Sad to not be greeting their usual students on the beautiful shores of Six Senses Laamu due to the coronavirus pandemic, the resort’s team of marine biologists had in April begun hosting short videos and demonstrating activities that anyone can try at home.
Each week, the team took turns to introduce manta rays, corals, turtle and reef fish. Families explored seagrass and mangroves and learned how they were vital habitats for supporting a diversity of marine life. Broader topics covered science research, sustainability and how to stay involved over the longer term.
Although the structure, by necessity, was slightly different to what children might enjoy on vacation in the Maldives, the objective was the same. It aimed to help foster an understanding of marine biology and see first-hand the importance of marine conservation.
“Congratulations to the first ever graduating class of online Junior Marine Biologists, who will be partaking in their final lesson next week. You have all inspired, motivated and entertained us endless over the last three months,” an announcement by the resort read.
“We can’t wait to carry on our adventure with you here in Laamu one day with MUI by Six Senses Laamu.”
The programme also came as a relief to parents who might have been running out of ideas (or enthusiasm) for home schooling.
“Know that you are the brightest spot during this lockdown and whether it takes me a year or longer, I’m working to get my boy to your island,” the mother of one of the Junior Marine Biologists in South Africa said, in an email.
The Junior Marine Biology programme, which launched a year ago, was initially inspired by a young guest at Six Senses Laamu. Unable to join his parents on dive trips, he ventured out with one of the resort’s marine biologists on a shallow-water snorkel. His curiosity inspired the team to create the programme for all like-minded marine enthusiasts.
Sessions are led by one of 10 biologists, each of whom specialises in different aspects of marine science and science communication as part of their work with the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI).
Over the past year, they have run hundreds of hours of private sessions and certified dozens of junior marine biologists.
MUI is an initiative by Six Senses Laamu in partnership with three NGOs: Blue Marine Foundation, the Manta Trust and the Olive Ridley Project. The mission is to lead the tourism industry in the Maldives by undertaking meaningful marine conservation focused around the three pillars of research, education and community.
One of the team’s many pioneering projects includes an underwater contactless ultrasound scanner for Laamu’s resident population of pregnant manta rays in order to study gestation and embryonic development and guide conservation strategies.
MUI was also recently honoured with the ‘Best for Wildlife and Nature Conservation’ Award for its #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign at the World Travel Market’s Responsible Tourism Awards.
Six Senses Laamu is the first and one of the only two resorts in the pristine Laamu atoll. Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater, however beach villas and on-land dining are an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view to the ocean and Maldivian nature.
Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, an ice cream parlour, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill Bar. Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both overwater and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.
Six Senses Laamu hosts one of the largest teams of marine biologists in the Maldives, the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI). Staff from Six Senses Laamu and its three partner NGOs: Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and Olive Ridley Project work together under the banner of MUI and seek to lead the tourism industry in the Maldives with meaningful marine conservation efforts based on research, education and community outreach.