Seacology launches new Jamaica project, update from Tonga, and much more!
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September 2014 E- Newsletter
In This Issue: New Jamaica Project AnnouncedStorm Recovery a SuccessSeacology Expedition Visits FijiJoin Us For the Seacology Prize CeremonySeacology Supporters Paddle Into Record BooksTravel: KenyaTravel: AustraliaGoing for the GoldNew Indonesia Representative

New Jamaica Project Announced!

The Portland Bight Protected Area is Jamaica's largest nature preserve, comprising 460,000 acres of both terrestrial and marine territory and a hotbed of biodiversity. In 2010, Seacology helped the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) and local park rangers convert used shipping containers into a new office to assist in their effort to safeguard this important national treasure. With funding from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, we have now been able to provide an additional grant to C-CAM to construct a ranger dormitory and make needed improvements to the existing facility, including a solar cooling system.

Storm Recovery a Success

Our project on ‘Uiha Island, Tonga, suffered a major setback in January when the community center we had helped the Femelea community retrofit was leveled by Cyclone Ian, a Category 5 storm that ravaged Tonga and Fiji, among other Pacific islands. It was deemed that the entire structure was beyond repair and would have to be rebuilt from the ground up. Fortunately, Seacology was able to quickly mobilize the funding to make that happen.

We're happy to report that thanks to the hard work of Felemea community volunteers, construction of the new Femelea center is already complete! According to Development Director Aaron Rashba and Board member Shari Sant Plummer, who attended a recent Seacology expedition to Tonga (more about that in next months e-newsletter), the speed of progress on the facility was nothing short of incredible.

"When we got to Felemea, I was greeted by [volunteer project leader] Sione Masima who had paint spots all over his arms! The community hall was up and looking fantastic," Aaron said. "A member of Parliament who represented Felemea led the dedication ceremony in the hall and his speech was very emotional. He spoke compellingly about the struggles Felemea had been through with the cyclone and how much it meant to have the community hall rebuilt."

Check out some photos of the progress on our Facebook page.

Seacology Expedition Visits Fiji

In August, Seacology led our first-ever expedition to the Fijian island of Vanua Levu. The trip, co-hosted by the National Aquarium in Baltimore, brought 12 lucky travelers together to spend a week diving some of Fiji's most pristine reefs, enjoying the hospitality of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, and touring two of Seacology's successful project sites.

Seacology has a long history of working with Fijian communities, with 26 active or completed projects in that nation since 1998. Our recent expedition visited the communities of Nukubalavu and Nanuca, both of which are now home to Seacology-funded facilities. In exchange for our support in building this needed infrastructure, the two communities have agreed to protect nearly 27,000 acres of combined marine and onshore habitat.

You can read Seacology National Development Officer Susan Racanelli's account of this amazing week here and view some photos at our Facebook page.

Join Us for the Seacology Prize Ceremony

Reservations are going fast for our upcoming Seacology Prize ceremony, where we will honor Kenyan conservation leader Ali Shaibu Shekue.

If you will be in the Bay Area on Thursday, October 9, we cordially invite you to attend this free public event. It's a great opportunity to meet fellow conservation advocates and learn about Seacology's work in Kenya and beyond. Light refreshments will be provided. Click here to reserve your spot!

Seacology Supporters Paddle into Record Books with Cross-Panama Trek

The record-breaking journey of British paddleboard enthusiasts Rob Cunliffe and Arron Ford was beset by all kinds of challenges. The duo had some close calls with poachers and drug smugglers, tropical storms, and a severely burned foot.

But after 44 days and 380 miles across the length of Panama, Arron and Rob emerged victorious as the new holders of the world record for prone paddleboarding. What's more, they helped promote Seacology's work throughout their adventure, and even paid a visit to Escudo de Veraguas Island to observe the endemic pygmy sloth, which a Seacology project has helped protect. Check out the Daily Mail's recap of Arron and Rob's adventure.

Seacology Travel: Kenya

Seacology invites you to join us for a once-in-a-lifetime safari to Kenya, where visitors will enjoy two nights at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, have a chance to witness the Great Migration at Maasai Mara, and visit Wasini Island, where Seacology has worked to protect expansive mangrove forests in exchange for key improvements in the island's water infrastructure.

What's more, Seacology and our partners are pleased to offer a $150 discount if you book your spot by July 25. For more details, view the trip brochure here.

Seacology Travel: Australia

Our first-ever trip to Australia next summer is almost sold out! Contact us if you'd like to be among the lucky few to sail aboard the luxurious Elizabeth E II while you dive the northern edge of the Great Barrier Reef and swim with playful Minke whales. This is an experience not to be missed. Read more about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in our travel brochure.
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Going for the Gold

We're proud to have recently been recognized as a Gold Participant on the GuideStar Exchange. This level of certification from the respected charity-rating website is awarded to nonprofits who have demonstrated a high level of transparency about their financial and programmatic activities, a commitment that Seacology has long held.

Our Gold Participant rating is just another reminder that you can donate to support our work with confidence that your money will be well spent.

If you are a past or present Seacology supporter, we invite you to visit our page on GuideStar's website and leave some feedback about your experience donating to us.

New Representative

Seacology is happy to welcome Iona Soulsby to our team as a new field representative in Indonesia. A native of New Zealand, Iona has a strong ecology background and has led mangrove-restoration projects on the island of Bali for the past five years. We're looking forward to working with her!
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