Environment train citizens in science program

Participants and trainers with Mrs Ta’hirih Hokafonu, showing off their certificates after their training in Kolomotu’a on Thursaday, October 10, 2019. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

Nuku’alofa – October 11, 2019: 9am (Enviro News): The Department of Environment this week trained members of the public on how to survey, collect and monitor land and sea water sources as part of its Citizen Science program.

Marine Team lead Penikoni Aleaamotua led the training at the Kolomotu’a Free Wesleyan Church.

Participants were taken through the basics over three days, involving both theory and practical learning.

Environment staff Cecelia Ulakai helping participants at the training on data entry at Kolomotu’a on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

Mr Penikoni said this was a way of building capacities within communities and helping them understand what they can do to help themselves.

“These are basics on how to survey, collect and monitor samples of water and the sea water or marine environment,” he said.

“We took them through the steps, what they need to know and what they need to do.

“Then we took them out to do practical sessions and then come back the last day to input data and get information from the data collected so that they know what type of bacteria or species are present in the water sources around them, be it land water source or the open sea around them.”

Participants and trainers following their marine monitoring exercise at the American Wharf on the Vuna Road waterfront on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

Mr Penikoni said it was a way of helping citizens understand the processes and learning how they may be able to do things themselves.

Tonga National Youth Congress’ Mausa Halahala, who was one of the participants, said the training was very helpful.

“This is great to get some training on this simple steps and processes that we can help with in our own communities,” he said.

“Grateful for the opportunity to learn and get this practical training.”

The participants were awarded with certificates at the end of the training by Mrs Ta’hirih Hokafonu, the Principal Assistant Secretary/Principal Dioversity Officer and Head of Islands and Ocean Ecosystems Division.

She encouraged the participants to go out and make use the knowledge they had acquired during the week.

Environment staff Petelo Oto;ota Tooa (left) works with Mr Mausa Halahala from the TNYC on data entry in Kolomotu’a on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

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