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January 2015 E- Newsletter
In This Issue: Lighting Up SibuyanPaving the Way in MadagascarSpecies SpotlightTravel: AustraliaNew StaffLast Chance to RSVP

Lighting Up Sibuyan

Our project launched last summer on Sibuyan Island in the Philippines has been completed! With financial support from our affiliate Seacology Germany, we purchased 80 solar lighting units for the people of Sitio Layag, a small village of a few dozen households. Adjacent to that community is one of the densest forests in the world, home to many endemic and endangered plant and animal species. Ongoing deforestation in the area poses a risk to the watershed which supplies water to the region's micro-hydro power station.

In exchange for the community's participation in protecting 1,000 acres of this pristine forest, we provided lighting equipment to each of the village's households, which was delivered to members of the community in a ceremony in December. Thanks to a favorable exchange rate along with other factors, the equipment was purchased well under budget, leaving a large enough surplus to supply 25 additional units to neighboring villages.

"The Manyan Community of Sitio Layag now enjoys the benefit of modern electricity from [the solar systems] during night time, which helps them provide better lighting for their school children and the family as a whole," wrote Rene Fajilagutan of the Romblon Electric Cooperative, the utility that helped implement the project. In turn, the project helped them serve some of their most remote customers, a true example of Seacology's win-win approach.

Paving the Way in Madagascar

Construction of a Seacology-funded ecotourism center and accompanying facilities near Madagascar's Ranobe protected area is proceeding on schedule.

In the last couple of months of 2014, our partners at Ho Avy, a local NGO which translates to "future" in Malagasy, made significant progress on the large stone-and-wooden visitors' center, and have recently begun laying stones for the path that will connect the new facilities to the main road.

In exchange for Seacology's support of this project, the local population has agreed to a ban on disturbing a 4,448-acre section of critical habitat within the Ranobe reserve for the next 20 years.

Read more about the project and view a slideshow of the progress here.

Species Spotlight

The Coquerel’s mouse lemur (Mirza coquereli) is one of eight lemur species protected by our project at Madagascar's Ranobe Protected Area (see above). The small primate resides only in the dry forests along the northern and western coastlines of Madagascar. These omnivores are one of the few lemurs that do not hibernate. You can see more of these adorable creatures over at ARKive.org.

Seacology Travel: Australia

Only one cabin (for up to two passengers) remains on our first-ever trip to Australia! Contact us if you'd like to be among the lucky few to sail aboard the 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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New Staff

We're excited to welcome Mary Randolph as Seacology's newest employee! Mary will be taking over the role of Program Manager later this year, replacing Karen Peterson, who is transitioning to a consulting role with us due to her relocation away from the Bay Area.

Mary brings a wealth of conservation and management experience to our organization, including a degree in ethology and evolutionary biology. In her new position, Mary will be responsible for coordinating between our California headquarters and our field representatives around the world. We're looking forward to working with her!

Last Chance to RSVP

In just two weeks, our friends at The Ocean Campaign, with help from the Tides Foundation, are kicking off an exciting and much-needed new initiative for ocean conservation, and Seacology is a direct beneficiary! The inaugural event on January 20th at New York City's swanky Capitale will bring together top-notch entertainment and conservation leaders to raise funds to support an upcoming Seacology project and help kickstart a global "blue" movement aimed at expanding marine protected areas, reducing pollution, and replenishing fisheries. You can learn more about The Ocean Campaign in this video and RSVP for the inaugural event here.
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