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28th January 2010 for immediate use

Bringing the sea into the schoolroom

Thousands of primary school children in the Semporna area are benefiting from a visit by the unique Semporna Coral Seas Roadshow, and learning things they never knew about Sabah’s amazing marine life.

The ‘Semporna Coral Seas Roadshow’ has been adapted and developed from the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) ‘Cool Seas Roadshow’, which has been running since 2006 and has reached over 100,000 children in the UK1. MCS is currently working with Sabah Parks on the Semporna Islands Darwin Project (SIDP)2, which is raising awareness about the Tun Sakaran Marine Park3, near to Semporna.

En. Abdul Raof Bin Muhammad Nor, Head Teacher at SK. Gelam-Gelam in Pulau Bum-Bum, Semporna, was full of praise for the Roadshow. “This is a fantastic initiative and is engaging the children in a fun and informative way whilst raising awareness about the importance of the wonderful marine wildlife found in Sabah and the world’s oceans. The roadshow activities greatly add to the students’ knowledge in subjects such as Science and Moral Studies”.

Life-size models of marine creatures and interactive activities are making the ‘Semporna Coral Seas Roadshow’ full of interest for local children. Fazrullah Rizally Abdul Razak, Manager of Tun Sakaran Marine Park said ‘Sabah Parks is glad to be part of this initiative. The Roadshow is helping children learn about coral reefs and their local Marine Park as well as introducing them to some of the threats to the environment such as litter, over-fishing, fish bombing and turtle egg collecting’.

The Roadshow Team from Sabah Parks and the Semporna Islands Darwin Project, are also initiating dialogue with teachers to see how best to set up permanent links with schools and discuss ideas for the establishment of ‘Coral Reef Clubs’ in local schools.

The ‘Semporna Coral Seas Roadshow’ is running for 3 weeks and is visiting 25 primary schools as well as communities in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park and making a special presentation for the public at the Semporna Library. Audiences are entertained and informed with a DVD showing and an interactive presentation by Andy Starbuck who has brought his life-size models of sharks, turtles and a dolphin all the way from the UK !

The children then break into smaller groups and enjoy supervised activities such as ‘Build Your Own Reef’, jigsaw puzzles, sticker books and a colouring competition, around the themes of marine life and conservation. Norida Salimeu, Community Officer for the Semporna Islands Darwin Project under Sabah Parks, speaks for the whole Roadshow Team when she says “children love the models and the activities and its making them think differently about the sea and its marine life – we want to change attitudes and make the younger generation really appreciate the incredible marine environment in their backyard”

The current Roadshow is running from Monday 18th January – Friday 5th February 2010. It is hoped that it will be possible to repeat this travelling roadshow later in the year so that more children can benefit.

Notes for editors

1 The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a UK-based non-governmental organisation (NGO). Its mission is to protect the marine and coastal environment for wildlife and future generations.
For more information visit:

2 The ‘Semporna Islands Darwin Project’ (SIDP) is a ongoing programme being run by the Marine Conservation Society and Sabah Parks and funded by the Darwin Initiative - a UK grant scheme that helps countries look after their biodiversity. The aim of SIDP is to protect the outstanding natural features and biodiversity of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park while promoting sustainable use of natural resources, economic development and traditional culture.
For more information visit:

3 The Tun Sakaran Marine Park, under the management of Sabah Parks, was gazetted in July 2004 and is Sabah’s largest marine park, covering 340km2 of sea and coral reefs, 10km2 of land and 8 islands.
For more information visit:

For more information and/or photographs, please contact:

Helen Brunt, Sabah Coordinator, Semporna Islands Darwin Project
Tel: 012-8362902

Norida Salimeu, Community Officer, Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Taman-Taman Sabah, Batu 1.5, Jalan Bubul, Semporna
Tel: 089 78427





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