First lectures in Bavaria in 2019

by firmm Team

Franziska and Maike

Text: Franziska Schönweitz, Photos: Arnold

Almost exactly two years ago, a friend sent me the link of the foundation firmm, including the possibility to adopt a juvenile orca. I immediately started to work me through the website and the more I learned about the foundation, the more I felt a desire to get involved. With my first step, to take over an adoption, I contributed to the research work of the foundation.

Shortly thereafter, I started distributing flyers in my home town. Only one year later, the first big fundraising campaign at the Uferlos Festival 2018 took place. Together with the festival’s main sponsor, the mobile banking app VIMpay, we organized that for every registration of the app, one Euro was donated to firmm. There was also the possibility to donate directly and to get more information about the foundation at the booth at the beachfront.

2018 with firmm in Tarifa

In August 2018, I and a friend were able to travel to Tarifa and to spend a week there with whale watching trips and many great conversations with members of the foundation. It was here, that the idea rose to start lectures at German schools in order to inform the students about the marine mammals and the habitat of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Oskar-Maria-Graf Gymnasium in Neufahrn near Freising

Back in Germany, I immediately found a motivated and committed partner in the person of my friend Maike. Since she is very enthusiastic about the protection of marine animals and biodiversity, it was an easy task to convince her of the idea.

With the material that Katharina provided to us, Maike and I worked on the lecture, edited a video, created a quiz and elaborated a handout with the most important informations for the students, which was distributed together with the firmm flyers at the end of the presentation.

For our pilot project, we chose our former school, the Oskar Maria Graf Gymnasium in Neufahrn, near Freising. Our former biology and geography teachers were very impressed and helped us to arrange a lecture room as well as to provide us with the necessary equipment and to coordinate the appointment with all class leaders of the 7th grade.

On the 27th of March 2019 at 8:15 AM, our idea turned into reality. Together with our photographer Arnold, who accompanied us during the first lecture to take pictures, we prepared the classroom. At 8:35 AM the first class with about 25 students aged between 12 and 14 came to our lecture.

Lecture at the Oskar-Maria-Graf Gymnasium in Neufahrn near Freising

We started by telling the students about the dolphins and whales that live in the Strait of Gibraltar and their particularities. For example, we explained them, where the name Pilot Whale comes from and why the fishermen do not get along that well with the Orcas. Afterwards we showed them why some animals are resident despite the large number of ships as well as where the animals get their food from. We read passages from Katharina’s book and told them about the research activities of the firmm foundation and what the so called “respectful whale watching” is all about. Finally, we showed them the firmm website and explained how they can adopt animals on the homepage.

All students were very enthusiastic. They listened attentively, asked many questions and were very motivated to take part in the quiz (to win a chocolate bar). Also the teachers were very impressed by our lecture, noted down questions and – after the lecture – informed themselves about the research work of firmm in Tarifa.

In total, we held four lectures of 45 minutes each this morning and in the last lecture; we even managed to show the short video in addition to our quiz. We reached more than 100 students within four hours. At the end of the day, about 75 of these students were interested in an adoption. Among the students there were also very motivated ones who expressed their interest – besides the adoption - in supporting us. The idea was born, that they may support our fundraising campaign at the Uferlos Festival 2019 distributing flyers together with Maike and me.

A few days later, we also received a feedback from our school saying that they liked the lecture very much and that they would be happy to welcome us again next year.

Thanks to the help of our photographer, we got many great new photos, some of which can be seen here. With these photos, we now want to create a flyer and send the information material to all schools in the area. We are already looking forward to reaching more students and teachers with our work.

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