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How SA octopus doccie could help boost marine conservation and aquarium's work

16 September 2020 6:27 PM
Tags:
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
Two Oceans Aquarium
Marine conservation
Maryke Musson
My Octopus Teacher
Craig Foster
Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

My Octopus Teacher connecting 'non-ocean' people to nature says Maryke Musson (CEO, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation).

Since My Octopus Teacher debuted on Netflix this month the local film's been taking the world by storm.

It documents the extraordinary bond filmmaker Craig Foster builds over the course of a year with an octopus in the waters off Simon's Town.

RELATED: Learning life lessons from an octopus: CPT free-diver documents incredible story

The doccie also highlights the wonders of the kelp forests of the Cape Peninsula.

Bruce Whitfield chats to Maryke Musson, CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.

She says aside from introducing viewers to what for many is an unknown environment, Foster has created empathy for the extraordinary animal that is an octopus.

Filmmaker Craig Foster with octopus, My Octopus Teacher. Image: Sea Change Project on Facebook

It is an incredible film. I know Craig really well actually and we have had many discussions about an octopus over the years.

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

I think what's so amazing about this film is it really introduces everybody to this great African sea forest and Craig is really pursuing getting Unesco (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) heritage status for the kelp forests around our Cape Peninsula.

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

What's amazing is that non-ocean people are absolutely raving about this film and they're suddenly connected to nature... People can now see that an octopus is more than just like a calamari or a lunch!

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

Whitfield asks about the PR bonus the film is creating for the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.

The aquarium itself is a private business she emphasizes, and needs "millions" to grow its educational work, especially in the form of outreach programmes (currently reaching about 60,000 children).

The only way to get to more of the 12 million kids in the country's education system, is through better funding.

In November the aquarium will be celebrating 25 years it's been open to the public... and up until recently has actually funded all the education, conservation, research and awareness work... so it needs to make revenue through ticket sales.

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

At the same time it's our core responsibility to share this message and inspire people to really care about the environment, which is good for business.

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

To get funding in place as a for-profit business is not possible so we decided to create a completely separate legal entity with the sole purpose of growing impact.

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

When lockdown hit, as a new non-profit they took their marine science courses online, "opening this massive door to the world".

Well, we still managed to retain and divert some of our donor funding to the online offering, so we partnered with schools in poorly resourced areas who happen to have connectivity, or businesses... for their staff's children.

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

There are just so many children in South Africa, and in Africa and actually in the world who are missing out. If we can inspire kids now we can contribute to creating this incredible generation of our future business decision makers and innovators and influencers, to make more environmentally responsible decisions...

Maryke Musson, CEO - Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

Musson says they've also reached adults in countries as diverse as Russia and Australia.

Listen to the in-depth interview below:


16 September 2020 6:27 PM
Tags:
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
Two Oceans Aquarium
Marine conservation
Maryke Musson
My Octopus Teacher
Craig Foster
Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

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