By: Leah Izzett, guest author
This summer, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) hosted the second Summer Sanctuary Science in the Village (SSSV) program. Approximately 150 students from local communities joined the two week program in each sanctuary village to learn about national marine sanctuaries, participate in science, education, and community outreach, and inspire the next generation of ocean stewards.
The Foundation provided teachers and students with stipends to promote engagement and diversity across different communities in American Samoa, with particular focus on communities in Fagatele, Fagalua/Fogama’a, Aunu’u, and Ta’u.
Throughout the program, students participated in hands-on learning such as marine water testing, beach clean-ups, and data collection using scientific sampling methods. The students investigated human impact on the environment and further developed their leadership, critical thinking, and social skills through team activities. Ten guest experts led learning sessions with the students throughout the program. At the conclusion of the program, many students felt inspired and expressed their desire to continue their education in marine science. Chloe Polu, a student in the SSSV program, felt “this summer program has truly inspired me to become a Marine Biologist in the future.” SSSV was a successful program in engaging the local community and teaching young children the importance of marine habitats and sanctuaries!