• July 29, 2021

Underwater elephant with holes and tunnels inside as a shelter for fish, crabs, etc. – sounds fantastic? This became true at the special action devoted to marine monitoring in Odesa. The key guests of the action were children with special needs or from the orphanage, who has limited access to the sea and opportunities to dive. “Marine monitoring without limits” – this was the key motto of the action.

At first, kids got an opportunity to learn about the marine inhabitants at the lecture organized by the project just at the beach with the involvement of divers (Figure 1). The kids have learned about the different habitats at sandy and stones and why the stones in the salty water got overgrown by mollusks and algae. They got the books “Secrets of the Black Sea” and “Pocket Guide of Marine species”.

Figure 1. Presentation of the project and marine monitoring

Afterward, the kids got involved in the construction of the underwater elephant sculpture (Figure 2). For this, a special recipe of the concrete was used with the relevant Ph suitable for the marine environment, environmentally friendly, and long-lasting. The holes in concrete were ensured by using balls with water (Figure 3).

Figure 2. Making an underwater sculpture Figure 3. Balls with water used to make holes in the sculpture

We used the form for concrete, which is applied as a parking barrier. However, this form was in holes and tunnels made using cardboard tubes and balls for water, which after hardening of the concrete were taken out. The selected elephant, as kids noticed reminds the one which Little Prince has in the story of Saint-Exupéry had (Figures 4 – 5).

Figure 4. Elephant with holes Figure 5. Elephant of Little prince

Later the elephant was placed in the water at the beach for disabled kids. It will be used as an underwater monitoring unit and will be a starting point for the further underwater ecoreefs “garden” (Figures 6 -7).

Figure 6. Placing the elephant in the water is very exciting

Figure 7. Elephant becomes a starting point for the Black Sea discovery

Kids were extremely excited to have their own “house for fish and crabs” as they called it. Aleksandr Kushnir, the organizer of the event from the side of NGO “You can” mentioned: “Having looked in the eyes of the kids I understood the real need and importance of the project. Establishment of Art ecoreef and its monitoring. Science and kids with special needs… New knowledge and physical development. Monitoring, how the life is getting started”.

Now the kids have an easily acceptable monitoring unit, which stimulates them not only to dive and go beyond the physical limits but to explore the Sea.

EU project is very grateful to the partners of the action: NGO “You can”, specialized on diving with disabled kids? NGO “Sports club of disabled of Odesa”, “Kayak point” – the host of the location.

More details see in the great movie produced by Kayak point: