Reaching out the new generation: education and fun time at the Lycée Français Georges Pompidou

The UAE Dolphin Project works towards its educational goals, in all languages: this time was French!  The Project was accepted as one of the exhibitors at the annual Kermesse at the French school, Lycée Français Georges Pompidou, that took place on Friday 1st March 2013.

It was a lovely day full of fun! The event was organised as a big game where children were kitted out with a mini log book and had to collect stamps for each activity proposed in each stall. At our stall, we provided general information about the project and a dedicated poster showing the three dolphin species most commonly reported in Dubai coastal waters: the Indo-Pacific bottlenose, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and the finless porpoise. We also gave some simple information on how identify them at sea.  The challenge for the children was to rebuild three big puzzles each of them representing a dolphin species in the shortest time possible. All children from 3 to 12 years old enjoyed playing with them! The level of difficulty was adjusted by proposing one or more species together.

We introduced the game explaining to the children and their parents that seeing dolphins in the wild in the UAE is a real possibility! Just look out when you are at sea! We then gave them one clue on how to recognise the different species and after that the timer was started for one minute and the children had to reshape the puzzle of their choice.  Some of the children took it as a real challenge as they came back twice or three times to make them quicker and quicker!

Thank you to AIPE, association of parents who organized the Kermesse,  to Mary  and all the parents that kindly helped to animate the stall! We hope to see you next year!!

Students take an interest in the project…

…UAE Dolphin project presented to the YR12 students at the American Universal School last December. Thanks to Time Out that posted our advert and three enthusiastic students that contacted us and made this happen. They are now working on putting together an information package to promote dolphin awareness among the younger students.  Here is what they say:

Kevin YR 12

“I was fortunate enough to come across Dr. Natoli while browsing through the newspaper for volunteer work for myself and group of friends. Upon finding a listing about dolphins in the UAE, my friends and I immediately gained an interest in it. Upon contacting her via email asking her if she would like any help with the project, we were pleased to hear her confirming response. Since then, we have been helping her raise awareness about dolphins in the Gulf as well as her project which is to learn more about them and how we may better preserve their environment. Dr. Natoli was kind enough to come to our school and give a very informative presentation about whales and dolphins, the population of dolphins in the area and a little about her project and how we can help her with it. After this, we decided to continue spreading the information within our school to the younger grades so they too can be informed. If time permits we would love to continue to help Dr. Natoli in her project in any way we can, as not only is it interesting, it’s the first I have heard about dolphin research and preserving their population and the marine environment in Dubai and I would love to play a part, regardless of how small it may be in the preservation of these animals and their home.”


Faheem YR12

“My name is Faheem and I am a senior doing the International Baccalaureate program. To complete this program we are required to complete a certain amount of CAS hours which involve doing three categories of activities: Creativity, Action, and Service. To complete our service hours we began to look in the newspaper for volunteering opportunities when we came across Dr. Natoli’s ad for the UAE dolphin project. My group mates and I were specifically intrigued by this ad as we have seen dolphins in the UAE before and we wanted to learn more about them. So we decided to send Dr. Natoli an email to see her intentions and how we could help. When she replied she had described to us that she was interested in learning more about the dolphins in the Gulf region, as well as to raise awareness about these dolphins to help conserve their marine environment. After discussion with Dr. Natoli she came to our school and presented to the juniors of our grade all about types of dolphins, what they look like, how they survive and the information we know about them (which isn’t much especially in the Gulf). This presentation got us more interested in the cause of dolphins as well as marine life in general to an extent in which we are now going to present to other grades in our school to raise further awareness of the conditions of the dolphins and hopefully get a chance to collect more data on the types we have in the Gulf and how we can help conserve their marine environment.”


Selim YR 12

“I met Dr. Natoli through my school’s “group-sustained project” as part of my CAS (extracurricular Creativity, Action, or Service experiences) requirements. The project is undertaken by students taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma program and my peers and I are students enrolled in this program at the Universal American School of Dubai. We were looking for opportunities to provide some form of service to the community, flipping through a local magazine, when we found a small advertisement for the Dolphin Awareness Project. My peers and I then debated on whether or not we should actually call the number, and of course we made the right call and have had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Natoli into our school. Dr. Natoli has already presented to the Juniors during one of their class assemblies. She went over basic dolphin background information which was very interesting, especially focusing on the different types and classifications of dolphins. She then linked that to Dubai and talked about their presence here, the lack of research on dolphins in the area, and finally, what to do upon sighting a dolphin.  My peers and I hope to continue to help after her presentation by raising awareness and making the Dolphin Project something that is known and talked about within the school. We hope to do this by having presentations similar to Dr. Natoli’s and hopefully reaching both the Secondary and Elementary sides of the school.”