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Ocean Park Academy First to Introduce Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Rearing Programme

2009-10-24

Students can Explore “Every Drop Counts”, Learn About “Sustainable Seafood” and Experience “Workplace Visits at Ocean Park”, and Turn into Nature Ambassadors Outside the Classroom

(Hong Kong – 24 October 2009) The Ocean Park Academy (OPA), Ocean Park’s education arm, today announced the introduction of 35 courses for the 2009 school year, 11 of which are newly-developed.  Three of the new programmes, consisting eight titles, were tailor-made to complement the new secondary school structure implemented recently in Hong Kong, benefiting thousands of teachers and students with one-of-a-kind learning experiences.

At today’s media briefing, Mr. Tom Mehrmann, Chief Executive of Ocean Park and
Mr. Kenneth Chen Wei-on, JP, Under Secretary for Education, shared with everyone further insights on the new curriculum, which aim to create innovative and interesting learning experiences for students, and to develop the young learners to be independent thinkers, with the passion to protect the environment and conserve natural resources at all times.

Mr. Mehrmann said, “Ocean Park has always facilitated learning through our differential resources, which are developed into compelling learning materials for students. Since its inception in 1992, our Ocean Park Academy has been running thousands of unique edu-taining courses to over 480,000 youngsters.  The New Academic Structure emphasises independent thinking, problem solving and self-directed learning, which coincide with the way in which OPA develops students’ interests in conservation through stimulating material and interactive learning.”

Mr. Kenneth Chen Wei-on, JP, Under Secretary for Education of the Hong Kong SAR said, “The New Academic Structure represents a significant milestone in education in Hong Kong. Various organisations play an important role in the early stages of the new structure’s implementation as they help schools and teachers select suitable courses.  We are delighted to see Ocean Park Academy take the lead in developing compatible courses. The education selection provided by OPA on conservation and workplace visit embody the key concepts behind the new curriculum as they let students learn and think about issues of relevance to society from multiple perspectives in a fun and interesting manner.”

For this school year, the Ocean Park Academy introduced two “Liberal Studies” courses, including “Every Drop Counts” and “Sustainable Seafood”. In addition, students can get a chance to see the behind-the-scene operations at Ocean Park through “Workplace Visits at Ocean Park”, which is Hong Kong’s most comprehensive workplace visit course. Here, students can gain an insider’s view of the day-to-day operations from six different theme park job roles, which can guide the young people to identify their career aspirations.*

To promote awareness on endangered species, Ocean Park Academy will run Hong Kong’s first “Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Rearing Programme” with the support of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) and the Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong (CityU). This programme aims to build up awareness among students to help with horseshoe crab conservation and to disseminate this important message to the rest of the community.  The highlight of this initiative is to enable eligible schools to take custody of, and to rear, young horseshoe crabs at the schools. Students will provide care for the juvenile horseshoe crabs, which were initially reared by CityU, until these crabs are ready and viable for release back to their known habitats. OPCFHK will sponsor the costs for all equipment and feed; and CityU will conduct briefings on rearing requirements, provide technical support and observe the conditions of horseshoe crabs at schools through regular site visits.**

In pursuit of its mission to bring humans closer to nature, OPA developed other courses for students. In addition to the three new courses mentioned above, the Academy’s 11 new courses for kindergarten to secondary school students also include Giant Panda’s Sweet Home, Legend of the Goldfish, Panda Ranger’s Discovery, Green Wonders, Dragon’s Tale, Our Green Earth, The Symphony of Nature and Man, and Nature Explorer.

With the start of its new school term, OPA’s Student Sponsorship Scheme (the “Scheme”)# for 2009-2010 will also begin to invite applications. Since the launch of the Scheme in 2007, Ocean Park has enabled over 3,300 students from families with financial difficulties to take part in OPA’s interactive courses with full, or half, fee exemption. Ocean Park targets to benefit 5,000 eligible students per year through this Scheme.

Mr. Tom Mehrmann concluded, “Ocean Park will continue to work with educators through the Ocean Park Academy to develop compelling programmes on conservation. Our Student Sponsorship Scheme, as well as admission concessions designed for student groups, are also in place so that all students will have the chance to benefit from our offerings.  We hope we will inspire our new generation to acquire useful life skills and positive behaviour that will lead to a more sustainable future for all.”

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