Whyreef Engaging Kids to Learn about Coral Reefs

It’s been more than two months since the launch of WhyReef in Whyville.net, and things are going swimmingly! The North and South Reefs have had over 80,000 visits, and over 500,000 reef animals and plants have been counted, meaning that Whyvillians are monitoring the reef very carefully. Interest in WhyReef has leveled, with ¼ of all Whyville visitors playing on the reef at each login.

On April 14th we launched “Reef Encounters” in the Reef Station; a place where kids can view video clips of different reef plants and animals. Right now there are 20 clips available with plans to add 20 more in the near future. There will also be a space to post video clips from scientists about their work in coral reef environments. The reef videos have only been live for 3 weeks and we already have had over 1,800 visits.

While all these numbers are compelling, the level of interaction and engagement with the kids is even more exciting. In the reef, kids are chatting about where to find specific organisms and which species are their favorites. The reef octopus and the white-tip reef shark are particularly popular. There have been 148 postings in the BBS, and the most popular thread is “Ask Mark”. Whyvillians have been asking our scientists questions about reef life and conservation.

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