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December 2016 e-Newsletter
In This Issue: Philippines updatesFirst Peru project nears completionSeacology director joins Royal Geographical SocietyTravel: PeruWinter print newsletter outLast chance to support us in 2016

Transforming lives and landscapes in the Philippines

As an organization that focuses on island conservation, it only makes sense for Seacology to have a strong presence in the Philippines. The nation is an archipelago consisting of a jaw-dropping nearly 8,000 islands. Possessing a wide range of habitats including coral reefs, tropical rainforests, and tens of thousands of miles of coastline, the Philippines is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to hundreds of endemic plant and animal species. In fact, we don't even know the full extent of the country's biodiversity yet—new species and indeed new islands are discovered there regularly.

Since 2000, we have partnered with 22 Filipino communities to help protect these precious natural resources. Longtime Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo recently checked in on several project sites in the Cuyo Archipelago, in the country's northeast.

Ferdie met with leaders in three villages—Barangay San Carlos, Barangay Rizal, and Barangay Canipo—where Seacology has worked with locals to develop and enforce marine protected areas. In each meeting, he observed an encouraging trend: the villagers had recognized the importance of their investment and had taken responsibility for enforcement. In an area where government support can be slow and unreliable, our partners on the ground have truly made up the difference and the results speak for themselves. Fish stocks have rebounded and mangrove forests along the coast are productive and growing. In each village, Seacology funded a community center, and each has become an important place for conducting the village business.

Taking on these commitments is not without risk—MPA enforcement has led to frequent conflicts with poachers. In the most serious incident, poachers whose boat had been confiscated opened fire on the home of Barangay Canipo's leader in retaliation. Fortunately no one was injured. The village remained unintimidated.

In the case of one poacher, the risks of illegal fishing caught up to him. A former dynamite fisher, he accidentally blew up his own boat, a close call which weighed heavily in his change of careers—he's now Canipo's carpenter.

We encourage you to read Ferdie's full account of his recent site visits on his blog, "Nature Calls." It's a wonderful insight into the communities that make our work possible, and the wide range of successes, struggles, and humor that comes with it.

First Seacology project in Peru moves forward

Launched just six months ago, our first-ever project in the nation of Peru is taking shape quickly.

Peru's Foca Island—in a geographically unique location where the Humboldt and Tropical Equatorial Currents converge—is home to countless marine and bird species, and new ones are constantly being discovered there. As illegal fishing has encroached on the island's surrounding waters, locals in the neighboring village of La Islilla dependent on small-scale fishing have seen their stocks decline.

Working with Seacology and others, Foca's fishermen developed a marine reserve around the island that will permit only small-scale artisanal fishing by locals. The new regulations will be enforced by a combination of government and private patrols. In exchange, we are funding a new visitors' center for La Islilla, just a quarter-mile away on the mainland coast. The new center will serve the thousands of tourists who visit the town every year, many of whom take the short boat trip to the island, and help bolster the community as an ecotourism destination.

Ground broke over the summer and construction is progressing quickly. The facility is scheduled to be completed later this month. Our next scheduled Seacology travel package, in August, will include a visit to the project site. If you're interested in exploring Peru with us and being among the first to visit our new center at La Islilla, please see our brochure.

Seacology director Duane Silverstein named Royal Geographical Society Fellow

The UK's prestigious Royal Geographical Society has recognized Seacology's Executive Director, Duane Silverstein, by naming him a fellow in the storied institution. As a fellow, Duane joins one of the world's great communities of geographers, policy experts, explorers, and conservationists including past fellows Charles Darwin, David Livingston, Henry Stanley, Edmond Hillary, Alfred Russel White and Seacology Scientific Advisory Board member Sylvia Earle.

"I am honored to follow in the footsteps of so many giants in the fields of geography and exploration," says Silverstein. "I have so much to learn from other fellows and at the same time I look forward to spreading the word about the extinction crisis on islands and Seacology's efforts to preserve threatened island ecosystems."

Duane is exceptionally well-traveled. By our count, he's visited more than 180 islands in 75 nations in the course of his tenure at Seacology and in his personal travels.

The RGS has been a great partner in promoting Seacology's conservation model, covering our work in Geographical, its official magazine. Duane is also currently a fellow of the Explorers Club, based in the United States.

Seacology Travel: Peru

August 5-15, 2017
Next summer, Seacology will lead our first-ever trip to Peru! We invite you to explore key sites of the Inca Empire with us, including Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and more. We’ll also visit Foca Island, the location of our first project in Peru.

Learn more about the expedition in our brochure. Reservations are going fast for this trip, so don't hesitate if you're interested in joining us for this unforgettable excursion.
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Winter issue of Island Update out now

The latest issue of Island Update, Seacology's biannual print newsletter, is out! It commemorates Seacology's 25th anniversary, taking a look back at our first quarter-century of innovative conservation work and highlights from our current projects.

Last chance to support Seacology in 2016

There's still time to make a tax-deductible gift to Seacology in 2016! Our work is possible only thanks to the generosity of our supporters. We also offer the option to make a gift in honor of a friend or loved one, so if you're seeking a last-minute holiday gift, look no further! Donations to Seacology can be made online or via phone or mail (see contact info at the bottom of this newsletter).

You can also support Seacology at no additional cost to you by shopping at Amazon. Simply click here to choose us as your preferred charity, then do your Amazon shopping via smile.amazon.com. Amazon will donate a small percentage of the proceeds to our work.
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