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and cultures of islands worldwide
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December 2015 e-Newsletter
In This Issue: A Big Year for IslandsRemembering a Champion of Marine ConservationVanuatu Shows Resilience After Pam's DevastationTravel: NicaraguaTravel: ArgentinaYour Holiday Shopping Can Benefit Islands!The Perfect Holiday Gift: Saving an Acre

A Big Year for Islands

Looking back on the past 12 months, we can honestly say that 2015 was one of the most important years in Seacology's history. We launched our largest project to date, were awarded a prestigious philanthropy prize, brought several new staff members and conservation experts into our organization, and began 15 new projects on islands around the world. We led our first travel expeditions to Australia and Cuba. We presented the Seacology Prize to an inspiring and courageous woman from India. And our innovative and effective work made headlines around the world.

These accomplishments let us head into the new year with great momentum. Our field representatives are already proposing exciting ideas for new projects to be launched in 2016—including in countries where we've never worked before. We look forward to sharing those with you soon.

The support of our dedicated donors and advocates like you makes it possible for us to continue providing hope for threatened island habitats and communities. They, and we, are eternally grateful. From all of us, happy new year!

Remembering a Champion of Marine Conservation

With great sadness, we learned last week of the unexpected passing of Ali Shaibu Shekue, our 2014 Seacology Prize winner. Shekue, widely known as “the Professor,” was instrumental in developing Kenya’s marine reserves and promoting sustainable practices among that nation’s artisanal fishing community. He was a beloved and respected community leader, colleague, grandfather, and friend. We are honored to have met him and proud to have shared in his work.

“Professor Shaibu will be greatly missed not only by his friends, but also communities that he tirelessly worked to empower, colleagues that greatly benefited from his vast knowledge and wisdom on conservation and working with communities,” said Dishon Murage, Seacology’s field representative for Kenya, and a friend and associate of the Professor for more than 15 years.

Shekue was awarded the Seacology Prize last year in recognition of more than a decade of work with countless fishermen along Kenya’s coasts. His efforts led to the creation of the country’s first community-managed marine reserve and many others following that. He was also active in the successful implementation of several Seacology projects, most recently on Pate and Wasini islands.

See our video profile of Shekue and his Seacology Prize acceptance speech.

Those of us who had the privilege of meeting and working with the Professor will miss him greatly and will always remember his dedication, kindness, and humility. Our condolences to all of those whose lives he touched in Kenya and beyond.

Vanuatu Shows Resilience After Pam's Devastation

In October, Seacology's Program Manager Mary Randolph traveled to the South Pacific, visiting several of our project sites in Fiji and Vanuatu. With new field representatives in both countries, it was a great opportunity to get everybody up to speed on existing projects there and explore ideas for future ones. Here are a few of the highlights of the Vanuatu portion of her trip. For part 1, on Fiji, see the November issue of our e-Newsletter.

Just a few months ago, in March, Vanuatu was making headlines as the site of horrible destruction, when Cyclone Pam struck the island nation. It was the first Category 5 storm to ever hit Vanuatu, and one of the worst natural disasters there in recorded history. Villages were flattened; water, power, and communication were cut off; crops were ruined; and several people were killed. For weeks we were unsure of the status of our project sites in the country.

Vanuatu is now recovering, albeit slowly. As reports trickled in, we were proud to learn that the sturdy community centers built as part of Seacology projects on Efatu Island not only withstood the storm but doubled as emergency shelters for more than 100 displaced people. On her recent visit to Vanuatu, Mary and new Field Representative Albert Williams visited several projects sites and found both their community and ecological benefits intact:

Sanoa, Efate Island: Touring the marine no-take area established here in 2007, village leaders spoke with pride of its benefits being passed down to future generations. The community is interested in partnering with Seacology to repair the minor damage to the community center.

Port Olry, Espiritu Santo: This island, with its picturesque coastline (photo above) was mostly out of Pam's path and avoided the storm's damage. The village chief's brother keeps a close eye on the 42-acre reserve from his adjacent property.

Marou, Efate Island: The kindergarten building we funded here (photo below) is in good condition, and our representatives were given a warm welcome by the village's chief and others. The conservation agreement expires next year, but seems well-respected. Discussions for a maintenance grant are under way.
After witnessing firsthand the resilience of Vanuatu's people, we can't help but share the optimism we found there. Despite the hardships of recent months, the sense of community in the villages where Seacology works and the ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship persist. We're excited about maintaining and growing our partnership with the communities of this incredible South Pacific island nation.

Seacology Travel: Nicaragua

January 8-16, 2016
Next month, Seacology will lead our first-ever expedition to Nicaragua! We will visit a Seacology project on one of the largest and most beautiful freshwater lake islands in the world, Isla Ometepe. We will also visit a turtle reserve on the Pacific coast and stay in some of the finest eco-resorts in Nicaragua, which is becoming a popular tourist destination. Read more details about the trip and learn how to book your spot here. At this time, we have two rooms remaining.

Seacology Travel: Argentina

February 14-25, 2016
Join us for Seacology's first trip to Argentina! We will traverse the country, from Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian border 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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Your Holiday Shopping Can Benefit Islands!

This holiday season, we'd like to remind you that you can support Seacology at no additional expense 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.

The Perfect Holiday Gift: Saving an Acre

As part of the worldwide celebration of charitable giving known as Giving Tuesday (a grassroots response to the commercial excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday), Seacology donors pledged more than $2,300 to our Save-an-Acre program. These donations were matched dollar-for-dollar, to fund the protection of 116 acres of coral reef in Kenya and rainforest in Indonesia. Our deepest gratitude to all who offered their support and helped us get the word out. We look forward to updating you on the progress of these two exciting projects.

Save-an-Acre donations make great holiday gifts! Just choose the “gift” option to save an acre in honor of a friend or family member. We'll send each recipient a card, so your loved ones know that you were thinking of them when you funded the protection of these amazing ecological treasures.
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