The seven winning classes of the 2022-2023 “Oceano pour Tous” (Oceans for everyone) competition have been revealed
The Oceanographic Institute, Albert I Prince of Monaco Foundation is taking action to help people learn more about the Oceans and raise awareness of how to protect them. To involve young people in this initiative, it organizes the “Oceano pour Tous” competition, in partnership with the Princess Charlène de Monaco Foundation, the French National Education department and the Monaco Directorate for National Education, Youth and Sports, with support from TotaleEnergies Corporate Foundation. On Thursday June 13, 2023 in Monaco, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the seven winning classes were announced.
The “Oceano pour Tous” competition was created in 2014 and, up to now, was open only to elementary schools in the PACA region, in France. For this new edition, the competition was opened to middle-school students in metropolitan France, the French Overseas departments, francophone and international countries, with particular interest focused on applications from establishments located in rural areas and REP (Priority Education Networks). In October 2022, 25 classes, i.e. 600 students, were selected.
As part of its Climate, Coastal Areas and Oceans priority area, where one of the main levers of action is raising awareness among young people, TotalEnergies Corporate Foundation wanted to lend its support to the “Oceano pour Tous” competition for a two-year period. This collective and inclusive initiative, that echoes the main UNO Sustainable Development Goals, effectively offers young people a unique opportunity to discover the marine environment through participative and innovative learning. It therefore contributes to making these middle-school students true ambassadors for preserving the Ocean.
Their task was to design and deploy a tangible action to protect the Ocean, then create a five-minute video documentary to explain their work and its impacts. “It’s a collaborative project that helps young people forge their environmental awareness and create a unique relationship with the marine environment. It’s essential, in particular for teenagers in rural areas, who do not live by the sea and some of whom do not know how to swim,” emphasizes Tiziana Caporale, Head of the Events and Education department at the Monaco Oceanographic Institute.
Alongside that and throughout the academic year, the popular science and culture team at the Oceanographic Institute provides teachers with instructive support media to help students discover the marine environment. 150 webinars and workshops were organized for young people, based on three main topics: Ocean & climate, Discovering marine biodiversity, and the impact of human activities on the Ocean.
The teenagers were also able to talk to researchers and oceanographers like Gwennaïs Fustemberg, a biologist in charge of the Madcaps project on microplastics in the Indian Ocean. “Following this project enables young people to imagine themselves being involved in an oceanographic assignment, to understand how the days are spent onboard, and to get an idea of what being an oceanographer is like. It also helps them improve their understanding of the Ocean, the issues and challenges involved, and perhaps it will also encourage some of them to pursue a career in this area,” the researcher explains.
On June 13, at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, the seven winning classes were announced. In the “France: +1,110 km from the Museum” category, the students from the Quartier Français Lucet Langenier middle school, and the Chemin Morin de La Réunion middle school were given awards for their projects. The first group created a log book on the MADCAPS (MicroplAstics anDCorAls PathogenS) project of the Indian Ocean Mission led by the Monaco Explorations Society, and took part in a workshop to plant endemic species to bring green plants back to the beach and encourage marine turtles to lay their eggs there, the students from the Chemin Morin middle school created a short film to raise awareness on the importance of protecting coral reefs.
The classes from the Catherine Ségurane middle school in Nice and the Pierre Puget middle school in Toulon, won prizes in the “France and Monaco: - 1,100 km from the Museum” category. Throughout the year, the students from Ségurane de Nice created “Sea Avengers” superheroes, through posters, illustrated stories and videos to raise awareness to the importance of protecting the Ocean. The project created by the students from Pierre Puget in Toulon consisted in taking action to fight against a silent enemy - waste! As part of their prize, the students from this college were invited to spend two days in Monaco. Many activities were organized for the occasion, including outings at sea accompanied by the SOS Grand Bleu association, to see the dolphins and whales of the Mediterranean, snorkeling and scuba-diving, and meeting French two-star Chef Ravin, Executive Chef at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, to discover the hotel’s vegetable garden and understand the importance of short circuits and “Zero-waste” initiatives.
Two Italian classes received awards in the “International” category: the middle schools, Istituto Comprensivo Statale “82° C.D. - S.M. D’Acquisto” and Istituto Comprensivo Statale Ferdinand Russo, both in Naples. Both classes worked on the impact of plastics and microplastics on marine biodiversity in the waters of Campania and the Mediterranean Sea. The students also realized the role they have to play in their own regions.
Finally, the class from the Aubanel de Fréjus school was also given an award as a pilot class for its project on the Mediterranean, designed to raise students’ awareness of sea pollution caused in particular by street pollution.