Keywords: environmental education, marine environment, underwater trails, Brazil, trekking, snorkeling, diving, rocky shore communities, marine ecosystems, ecological damage, environmental impact
Underwater interpretative trail: guidance to improve education and decrease ecological damage
Studies of environmental education on trails in the sea and their impact are scarce, especially as regards the Brazilian coast. Herein is analysed an implemented model of an interpretative guided underwater trail (free diving), undertaken in the Anchieta Island's Park, southeast Brazil. The activity consisted of a preparatory lecture, followed by a 350 m trail along the rocky shore. The results therefrom were evaluated through the application of questionnaires and by tabulation of the visitor's behaviour and impact. A high degree of satisfaction with the activity (average mark = 2.7, maximum 3) was recorded. Even though initial expectations of the participants were related to the dive (36%), the main aspect pointed out afterwards was the educational experience within the marine environment (71%). The scraping off of organisms (e.g., Phallusia nigra) and the suspension of sandy bottom sediment due to flipper movements were the main impacts.