ABOUT 60 primary school students in Macuata have been taken on board by the Community Centred Conservation (C3) group in the work of protecting the pride of Caumatalevu, the Great Sea Reef.
The students, who attend Kia District School, were introduced to the reef ranger lessons aimed at helping them understand the vital role of the third largest barrier reef in the world.
C3 officer Luke Dickens said by educating children on environmental awareness and conservation, there was a chance that the precious natural resource would continue to support them in the future.
"C3 has teamed up with Kia District School to educate primary school students about the importance of marine conservation in this remote Macuata province fishing community in the Northern Division," he said.
"The unique Great Sea Reef is under threat from ongoing human impacts and needs protection from the people that live right on its doorstep.
"This makes the environmental education of the next generation of Kia Islanders so important," Mr Dickens said.
The program spearheaded by C3 on Kia Island has also produced conservation ambassadors who have worked with villagers through awareness programs.
Mr Dickens said the reef ranger lessons have been taught to 65 students in classes one to eight with the assistance of the ambassadors.
"With their experience and training now finely tuned, these respected local community members will continue raising awareness about local conservation issues, inspiring change in the community through environmental education and ensuring the future of their natural resources."
"Reef ranger lessons have featured a variety of interactive and engaging learning tools in addition to classroom sessions to drive their conservation messages home.
"Using arts and crafts the children can harness their creativity in a fun and educational way to show what they have learnt.
"There have also been several field trips including beach clean-up and coastal reforestation in villages of Kia Island, as well as mangrove replanting in the nursery at Yalava Bay and coastal plant identification."
Mr Dckens said C3 also plans to include students on mainland Vanua Levu in the project of Reef Rangers.