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Kerstin Forsberg’s Visit

Kerstin Forsberg’s Visit
Posted on 11/11/2016
Laurie Ferhani, 6th and 7th grade Science

On October 7th, for Hispanic Heritage Month, the Amigos School was very fortunate to have Peruvian marine biologist Kerstin Forsberg visit and speak with each class in the upper school. Kerstin came along with Elizabeth Stephenson from the Marine Conservation Action Fund and Corrine Steever from the Education Outreach Department of the New England Aquarium. I met Corrine during the summer while taking a course on teaching Climate Science. I was introduced to Kerstin then and was thrilled when Kerstin picked Amigos School to visit!

Kerstin Forsberg is the founder and director of Planeta Océano, a non-profit organization empowering coastal communities in marine conservation. As a social entrepreneur and biologist, Kerstin has designed and developed numerous research and environmental education initiatives across Peru. She has contributed to policy initiatives in Peru and was essential in making sure that the manta rays of Peru become a protected species.

Kerstin believes that in order to save our ecosystems, we need to work with the community. She thinks students should be regularly exposed to nature, trained in problem-solving and encouraged to tackle conservation challenges in their community. Kerstin explained why manta ray populations are under serious threat worldwide from fisheries targeting mantas for their gills and meat, and from accidental entanglement in nets and fishing lines.

She shared that Peru passed a resolution prohibiting manta fishing thanks, in part, to Planeta Oceano’s efforts for effective local community engagement. By empowering artisanal fishermen in manta ecotourism, they elevated the profile of manta ray conservation in Peru, while providing alternate livelihoods to low-income fishing communities.

The students were in awe of what Kerstin has accomplished with marine conservation. They saw a Latina who took her education and not only became an accomplished scientist, but made a positive change in her country by engaging the people. What a powerful presentation this was for them! We look forward for ways that our Amigos Students can work with students in Peru. Stay tuned...