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Algal Reef Eco-Classroom Celebrates its First Anniversary as a Key Hub for Algal Reef Ecology and Coastal Environmental Education in Taoyuan

The first algal reef eco-classroom celebrated its first anniversary since it was opened on July 4 last year (2019). The center uses physical exhibits, tactile experiences, and multimedia interactions to educate the public on the algal reef ecology. Admission is free and guided tours can be booked online as well to observe the algal reef and littoral belt ecology in the field. Since the center was opened a year ago, it has provided more people with a chance to experience the algal reef ecological environment for themselves. The Algal Reef Eco-classroom is therefore more than just a collection of exhibits but a coastal environmental education site of tremendous educational value.

Director-General Li-teh Lu of the Taoyuan City Department of Environmental Protection (TYDEP) said that Taoyuan has around 27km of coastal algal reef. These stretch from Shalun Algal Reef in Dayuan District in the north to Guanxin Algal Reef in  Xinwu District in the south. These plant-made reefs are the largest and most complete algal reef formation in Taiwan and have existed for more than 4,000 years. The Algal Reef Eco-classroom is located in Yongxin Village of Xinwu District. The nearby coast falls within the Guanxin Algal Reef Wildlife Refuge Area. These are the southernmost algal reef belt in Taoyuan and stretch around 4.5 km. The nature of the porous eco-system gives rise to great biological diversity. The Algal Reef Eco-classroom’s functions include rehabilitation, conservation, education, and leisure. It promotes environmental education to protect the algal reef ecosystem. As of June 30, 2020, the center has been visited approximately 6,300 times since it was opened on July 4, 2019. The center is also jointly managed by City Hall and Yongxing Community Development Association of Xinwu District. Support is provided for the cultivation of local eco-tour guides to obtain certification as an environmental education facility. The center passed stage 1 review by the Environmental Protection Administration of Executive Yuan on June 11, 2020, and certification is expected by December 31, 2020. The initiative will hopefully help bring the community together for looking after the precious algal reef resources on the Taoyuan coastline.

Director-General Lu said that the management of the Algal Reef Eco-classroom is currently contracted to Yongxing Community Development Association. A 2-hour “A Thousand Years on the Algal Reef” environmental education course will be launched this year. The course will include classes on experiencing the algal reef ecology, threats to the algal reef, nature of the algal reef, as well as community involvement in the protection of algal reef habitats. Night tours and star watching sessions will also be used to attract more visitors, with tour guides providing a fun and lively introduction to the algal reefs.  Future plans include learning through play environmental education classes such as canoeing on Houhu River, observing the ecology of the windbreak forest, bed and breakfast at historic farmhouses in Yongxing, and carp hand-painting workshops. The classes will hopefully encourage more people to take a trip through time on the algal reef.

The only algal reef eco-classroom in Taiwan is located at No. 160, Lane 1800, Sec. 2, Dongxing Rd. Xinwu District, Taoyuan City. The center is open from 8:30AM to 4:30 PM between Wednesday and Sunday every week (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). Free guided tours for the general public are held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with one morning and afternoon session each day. The tour times may vary due to tides and the season. Everyone is welcome to visit the Algal Reef Eco-classroom to experience the beauty of the algal reefs up close. For more information, please visit Taoyuan City’s website on coastal venues (https://tyocaclass.tw/).

 

Algal Reef Eco-Classroom Celebrates its First Anniversary as a Key Hub for Algal Reef Ecology and Coastal Environmental Education in Taoyuan

 

Algal Reef Eco-Classroom Celebrates its First Anniversary as a Key Hub for Algal Reef Ecology and Coastal Environmental Education in Taoyuan

   

Algal Reef Eco-Classroom Celebrates its First Anniversary as a Key Hub for Algal Reef Ecology and Coastal Environmental Education in Taoyuan