Seacology Updates - February 2013
Villagers agree to double size of nearby forest reserve
Papua New Guinea's Wanang Community Gets a Sturdy Schoolhouse
The new primary school building – holding two classrooms and an administration office – is the area's first sturdy schoolhouse. Since 2009, Wanang has relied on classrooms made from bush materials like bamboo and palm fronds, which deteriorate quickly. Worse, a flood in 2010 destroyed two of the classrooms.
As part of the deal for this new school
, Wanang is expanding its forest reserve from 2,700 acres to 5,400 acres. For 25 years, no one may cut down its trees, hunt its animals, or harvest crops within its borders.
The urge to conserve is strong in Wanang, where loggers are eager to get at the rich tropical lowland. Several years ago, the 11 clans in the area agreed to preserve the original 2,700 acres. That plan was spearheaded by a local named Filip Damen, whose efforts earned him the 2009 Seacology Prize
The opening ceremony for the school featured an audience of locals from nearby villages, an official from the district's education department (who promised to create two new teacher positions for Wanang), and members of the Binatang Research Centre
, who study biology around Wanang (and who provided critical logistical support in building the schoolhouse).
After the ribbon was cut, and the school declared ready for the 2013 school year, the sing-sing
began. A traditional ceremony/celebration in Papua New Guinea, a sing-sing happens when people from different villages gather to dance and sing while wearing colorful garb, showing off each village's unique style. After a break for a feast, the sing-sing resumed, and continued throughout the night.
Construction Continues on Schoolhouse in Northeast Madagascar
Speaking of schools, the schoolhouse in Antsahaberaoka, Madagascar
is under construction (pictured), as is the footbridge over the river that runs through the village
. Once finished, the school will replace their dilapidated, bamboo classroom structures
. With dirt floors, students are exposed to parasitic sand fleas, which burrow into their bare feet. In exchange for the school, Antsahaberaoka villagers agreed to support a 4,800-acre rainforest reserve, home to the critically-endangered silky sifaka
New Assistant Field Rep in Indonesia: Irman Meilandi
If that name sounds familiar, it's because Irman was our Seacology prize winner back in 2011
. As Assistant Field Representative, Irman will help our primary Field Representative in Indonesia, Arnaz Mehta, monitor Seacology projects and identify new project opportunities. Irman lives in Mandalamekar, a village in the highlands of West Java, where he's worked for years to protect the area's native rainforests from threats of clear-cutting. He inspired the Mandalamekar community to protect substantial areas of their forests, and he spearheaded tree replanting efforts and other conservation programs. We look forward to working with Irman on many projects around Indonesia in the future. (Funding for this new position has been generously provided by the Mariposa Fund.)
Seacology Prize Ceremony - October 3rd, 2013
It's never too early to start thinking about the next Seacology Prize Ceremony
! We don't know whom we'll be honoring quite yet, but we know we'll be doing it on Thursday, October 3rd, at the David Brower Center
in downtown Berkeley, California. Mark those calendars!
August 17 - 22, 2013
Spend three days off Guadalupe Island on the Solmar V liveaboard vessel swimming in cages with great white sharks. Seacology helped set up a desalination system on Guadalupe Island that delivers fresh water to a small fishing community.View the trip brochure (pdf) for more information.
April 13 - 22, 2013
Explore some of the richest coral reefs in the world on a luxurious 107-foot liveaboard vessel, relax at a world-class resort, and visit a Seacology project site where solar panels are bringing big changes to one island village. View the trip brochure (pdf) for more information.
June 22 - 29, 2013
Travel with Seacology to the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort on Vanua Levu Island for seven nights of water, reef and luxury. Visit two nearby villages (Ketei and Qumusea) where Seacology projects have improved the lives of Fijians while protecting surrounding forests. View the trip brochure (pdf) for more information.