MCR LTER OUTREACH AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Local Community Education Program
A number of outreach efforts take place in French Polynesia. The PIs and researchers work with local educators to translate the goals and findings of the program to the public and school education programs. The Gump Research Station has developed the Atitia Center on its grounds for this purpose. One of the primary functions of the Atitia Center is to provide an infrastructure that visiting scientists can utilize to disseminate the results of their research to the local community. Through a partnership with the Tahitian non-profit association Te Pu 'Atiti'a, which consists largely of local educators and traditional experts, scientists can overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers to communicate about their science with the local community. This partnership provides the Moorea Coral Reef LTER with a well-supported education program that works to meet the goals of the Atitia Center of fostering "interaction and exchange, enabling students and researchers to learn from the local community, to contribute scientific knowledge, and to help protect Polynesia's biocultural heritage." The Atitia Center also is developing a website as an education and conservation resource that not only will serve the people of French Polynesia, but also can help the Moorea Coral Reef LTER target the large Polynesian and Pacific Islands communities in California and other parts of the United States. Additionally, the Gump Research Station has a small internship program for Tahitian university students. These students join research teams at the Station for periods of a few weeks or months, usually during school holidays. The Moorea Coral Reef LTER will participate in these programs.
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