By: Zain al Tauqi

MUSCAT: As part of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs’ (MECA) ongoing campaign to promote awareness on importance of mangroves, 60 students of PDO School visited the Qurum Nature Reserve last week.

Aida al Jabri, marine environment specialist, MECA, said, “Our mission is to educate children throughout the country on the importance of mangroves.

“MECA has been planting mangrove saplings since 2001. Avicennia marina is the only variety of mangroves found in Oman. Mangrove forests are haven for many species of fish, crab, shrimps, mussels, birds and even honey bees. They flower around the month of June.

“There are 36 mangrove forests in Oman; three of which are in protected natural reserves. However, it’s important to note that a Royal Decree prohibits cutting down mangrove trees anywhere in Oman.”

She said that MECA plans to open an environmental information centre at the Qurm site for educational purposes.

Joh Weekly, teacher, PDO School, said, “The programme showed students why it’s important to measure the health of the environment. As the tide was in, students had the perfect opportunity to see crabs, fish, birds, dragonflies and butterflies. It was an exciting opportunity for children to understand biodiversity.”