I had the pleasure of working with Charlie and a few of the local dive guides on the local ambassador program. These five individuals were selected, out of a large list of candidates, for their skills in diving, their passion for this industry, and their love of the marine environment. The five dive guides include; King, Jun Jun, Arnel, Ole, and Rigie, all Filipinos working here in Panglao.
The training involved presentations on the essence of Green Fins, followed by environmental education on corals and their local and global threats. Special attention was given to the Crown of Thorns and how this species is a potential threat to coral reefs on one hand, but on the other hand a good manager of the health and biodiversity on the reef. Several games were also played to help drill some of the important information into their capable minds. Below is a picture of the ambassadors playing a matching game, using cut outs of the Green Fins icons and descriptions of each. In this way the ambassadors were able to identify the symbolic meanings of each icon which they all worked together to figure out, not to mention that they got every one correct!
After that, the group went over environmental boat and dive briefing practices, and worked on improving their skills in order to further educate future guests and ultimately reduce their guest’s impacts. After this, the team went out for a dive and practiced underwater corrections on each other. One ambassador played the role of a dive guide, while the others acted as ‘naughty divers’, pretending to touch the corals, harass animals, and loose control of their equipment and buoyancy. Below is a picture of King correcting Charlie as she was laying on the corals while trying to take some pictures, a scenario that is witnessed all to often in these picturesque reefs.
After the dive, the group meet one last time to go over all that they had learned and accomplished during the long day of training. Contact information for all the ambassadors were shared so that each new Green Fins ambassador could keep in touch with each other while the rest of the Green Fins team is gone from Panglao. Finally, the certifications were handed out and the ceremonial picture taking commenced.
Congratulations to King, Jun Jun, Arnel, Ole, and Rigie on your great accomplishment and welcome to the Green Fins team. You were chosen for a reason, and we all know that you will do great things in the years to come!