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January 2016 e-Newsletter
In This Issue: Fiji Community Center CompletedYoung Divers Trained in Our First Honduras ProjectSeacology Prize Winner Shares Award With SchoolTravel: ArgentinaRead All About It!Island Stewards Keep Us Going Strong Year-round

Fiji Community Center Completed

The Fijian village of Nanuca lies near the eastern end of the island of Vanua Levu, along the pristine coast of the Koro Sea. Its shorelines are home to thriving reefs, dense mangroves, and abundant fisheries.

The local people have long shown strong commitment to preserving the treasures of their marine environment. In 2012, the leaders of Nanuca established two tabu, traditional protected areas comprising 1,342 acres of coral reef and mangroves. Fishing is banned in these areas except for a brief window in December in the smaller one. The original plan was to observe these restrictions for 10 years.

In the summer of 2014, Seacology joined the effort to strengthen and extend the tabu protections, and signed an agreement with Nanuca to extend the fishing restrictions for an additional 15 years. In exchange, we funded the construction of a new community hall for the villagers, to be used for community meetings, management of the MPAs, and other needs. When our program manager, Mary Randolph visited Fiji in October, she found the almost-finished building already being incorporated into the community. Local women were weaving traditional mats for the floor, and village leaders were discussing the possibility of hosting tourists in the center, an opportunity for the isolated village to bring in sustainable revenue.

Village men, aided by engineers and craftsmen supplied by the Fijian government finished the building in November, and it is now in regular use by the people there.

Young Divers Trained in Our First Honduras Project

As part of our first project in Honduras, working with the Roatán Marine Park, local teenagers are learning to dive, and acquiring other valuable skills for future opportunities in Roatán's booming ecotourism industry.

Working with local dive shop Eco Divers, the youths, ages 12-17, are training to obtain their PADI Open Water certification. The program has also enlisted young people on Roatán to help with beach cleanups, wildlife surveys, and other environmental initiatives. As an increasingly popular destination for cruises and divers, the Bay Islands, especially Roatán, are seeing growing demand for skilled dive leaders and instructors. By giving these young locals a head start down that path, our partnership with RMP is giving them the opportunity to have a piece of that growing job market. As a bonus, many of them are seeing their island's reefs and the life they support from a new perspective, and we're told, gaining new appreciation for the natural world around them.

Seacology Prize Winner Shares Award With School

Lakshmi Moorthy's spirit of generosity certainly factored into our decision to name her last year's Seacology Prize recipient. And true to her pledge made upon receiving the award, she has continued to share her success with the communities she grew up in and works with today.

Lakshmi decided to donate a third of her award, more than $3,000 US, to a local middle school in Tamil Nadu, India. Her gift will allow the campus to build additional classrooms and expand its playground.

"We should have good schools so that children from fisher families get more opportunities and not need to concentrate on fishing," Lakshmi said during her acceptance speech late last year. "We can reduce the pressure on the sea to provide our living."

With this latest selfless action, Lakshmi has again demonstrated her commitment to both the people and environment of Rameswaram Island, which she calls home. We are proud to have recognized her as the winner of Seacology's top honor.

Seacology Travel: Argentina

February 14-25, 2016
Join us for Seacology's first trip to Argentina! We will traverse the country, from Iguazu Falls in the tropical north to the southern tip at Tierra del Fuego, where guests will visit a Seacology project site that helps protect migratory bird habitat. There is only one room remaining, so reserve it while you can! More details and a complete trip itinerary can be found in our brochure.
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Read All About It!

Our biannual newsletter is out! Print copies of the winter issue of Island Update were mailed in late November, and the publication is now available at our website. The newsletter is free online, but all donors receive the eight-page printed version, full of exclusive information and colorful photos months before it's made public.

Island Stewards Keep Us Going Strong Year-round

Seacology invites you to join Island Stewards, our monthly donor program. Your ongoing contributions can help sustain our important conservation work year-round. Island Stewards will also receive special recognition in future annual reports and a locally made gift from one of our project sites for each year of membership. To learn more and to sign up, visit seacology.org/islandstewards.
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