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February 2016 e-Newsletter
In This Issue: Seacology Launches Six New ProjectsNicaragua Project Wraps UpSolar Array Will Power Micronesia Protected AreasNew Field Rep For MexicoIsland Stewards Keep Us Going Strong Year-round

Seacology Launches Six New Projects

This week, Seacology's Board of Directors met and approved six new conservation efforts on islands around the world. From South America to Southeast Asia, these community-driven projects will both help protect vulnerable island habitats and empower the people who depend on them. Among species protected by these initiatives are the Chilean flamingo, marine otter (pictured), and several rare parrotfish and grouper species. You can read more about each of these exciting new projects below.

Chile: Koldita, Chiloe Island
Development of a management plan for 12,630-acre marine protected area and purchase of surveillance equipment such as marine radios and binoculars

Honduras: Sandy Bay
Construction of the second floor of an environmental and children’s center, comprising two classrooms and a kitchen

Federated States of Micronesia: Balebat Village
Protection of 300 acres of mangroves for 15 years, in exchange for restoration of damaged women’s meeting place

Marshall Islands: Ailinglaplap Atoll
121-acre marine protected area for 10 years, in exchange for basketball court and solar lighting

Philippines: San Carlos
Protection of 287-acre no-take fish sanctuary for 25 years, in exchange for a multipurpose building that will, among other uses, be a venue for an alternative learning system for children

Philippines: Abatan River
Protection of Abatan River and the mangroves along Maribojoc Bay for 10 years, in exchange for funds to rebuild tourist docks and an amphitheater

Nicaragua Project Wraps Up

As part of our latest travel expedition last month, Executive Director Duane Silverstein and a handful of Seacology supporters visited the site of our first project in Nicaragua, on the island of Ometepe.

Comprising two volcanoes—the active Concepción and the smaller, dormant Maderas—Ometepe sits near the center of Lake Nicaragua and is the one of the world's largest islands within a freshwater lake. It's not only the site of astounding biodiversity, but also home to a community of forward-thinking small-scale farmers with a deep appreciation for the land that supports their livelihood.

These stewards of Ometepe proved to be natural partners for Seacology. In 2014 we funded the retrofit of a ranger station and visitor center for Finca Magdelena, a cooperatively owned and managed expanse of land on Maderas' slopes that is home to both sustainable farms and stretches of wilderness. With the facility's expansion, the cooperative is able to both host ecotourists and maintain round-the-clock monitoring of their impact on the land.

With the work recently completed, we spoke to grateful members of the cooperative who are now using the facility. One coffee grower, Feliciano González, gave a brief video interview with our field representative, thanking Seacology and by extension you, our supporters, for our role in preserving Ometepe's natural treasures. You can watch an excerpt of that at our YouTube channel.

Solar Array Will Power Micronesia Protected Areas

Micronesia's Ant Atoll is one of the world's great hubs of marine biodiversity. Home to relatively large populations of threatened species including Napoleon wrasse and hawksbill turtles, the uninhabited expanse of reef off of the island of Pohnpei is a popular destination for divers. Unfortunately its spectacular biodiversity has also made it a target for poachers.

A year ago, we began a project to bolster the enforcement of four no-take marine protected areas covering more than 8,000 acres. We funded a large solar array and battery system that will power several important components of the enforcement effort, including a desalination system for the ranger station and a radar system that will monitor a 30-mile radius for unauthorized boats.

Last month, the needed equipment to finish the project arrived at Ant Atoll and installation began. Our part of the agreement should be complete shortly, but local conservationists aren't waiting for that. Patrols are moving aggressively to intercept poachers and legislation is pending to extend permanent legal status to the protected areas. In the coming months, these commendable efforts will be even more successful due to Seacology's backing.
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New Field Rep in Mexico

Marisol Rueda Flores was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico and moved to La Paz, B.C.S. in 2005 to do her Masters in Science on Marine Resources Management with blue whales. Since then she has been working in environmental education and conservation programs in La Paz, B.C.S., Costa Rica, and the Galápagos Islands with cetaceans, marine invertebrates, sea turtles, and tortoises, among others. In 2010, she moved to Playa del Carmen and became Mexico’s Coordinator for the Healthy Reefs Initiative, focusing on the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef. Whenever she has free time, you can find her exploring the bottom of the ocean—her passions are scuba diving and traveling around the world to get to know new places and cultures.

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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