Story telling


Noukhada is pleased to be working with our friend John Stark.  With this in-school workshop, students will develop innovative ideas to help preserve their environment by applying critical thinking. They will work collaboratively and use creative skills to understand and mitigate challenges to the natural heritage of UAE.

The story telling can also be delivered outside (without the electronics!) as part of a kayak mangrove tour and makes an ideal and informative birthday treat for children.

Stark uses a story of an overnight camping trip on a mangrove island.  A marine biologist responds to his children’s request for a “spooky campfire story” by telling them a tale of mysterious midnight noises on the beach.  In the middle of the night the campers are awakened by a noise and commotion outside their tent. The following morning they discover the disturbance was the thrashing around of a young fox with a yogurt cup stuck on its head. They free the fox and return him to his life in the mangrove. This becomes the first of a series of “transcendent nature experiences” for the children. They engender a lifelong love, fascination, and determination to preserve the health of their society by working to save their coastal environment.

The subjects covered in the story can be shortened and adjusted according to the objectives of the teacher. Topics can include: how to paddle a kayak; grey mangrove habitat and adaptations; the importance of mangrove plants and animals to people living in the UAE; interrelationships between mangroves, coral reefs and pelagic fish populations; mangroves and healthy fisheries; coastal challenges from dredging, water desalination, etc.

The price is AED 500 for 1 hour up to 3 hours.

John Stark is a certified teacher, professional storyteller and children’s author. His list of experiences include:

  • Rainforest conservation educator and fundraiser with the Earth Foundation, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Received USA Nat’l Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin., “Environmental Hero Award” for conservation and education efforts for Flower Garden Banks Nat’ Marine Sanctuary, Gulf of Mexico (,
  • Supervising teacher at Outdoor Education Center residential environmental education school for Houston Independent School District
  • Active at state, local and nat’l level in Children and Nature Network (
  • Park Director, Clinton Community Nature Center, Clinton, Mississippi, USA (
  • Sea kayaking and mountaineering instructor, Nat’l Outdoor Leadership School (
  • Juried professional storyteller on Artist Roster of Mississippi Arts Commission (
  • Children’s author, READ THIS BOOK OUTSIDE, “nature play” book (
  • Currently working on children’s picture book about Arabian Gulf mangroves
  • Education: Millsaps College, Iliff University of Denver, University of Texas
  • John has worked as a teacher at Sylvan Center of AD, AD Int’l School, ACS and GEMS World Academy
  • John’s hobbies include music, electric bicycling and building wooden kayaks and small boats