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October 2016 e-Newsletter
In This Issue: Seacology Prize awardedNanuca center opensTravel: PeruNew staffYour holiday shopping can benefit islands!

Irma Brady awarded 2016 Seacology Prize

Before an audience of more than 100 Seacology supporters, staff, and Board members, Irma Brady of Honduras accepted the 2016 Seacology Prize last Thursday night. Recounting her early years on Honduras' Bay Islands and her decades-long career in conservation, Brady thanked her family, her colleagues in the Honduran NGO community, and her hosts for setting her on the path to a career in environmental stewardship and for the unexpected recognition.

In an especially moving moment, Brady dedicated her award in part to Blanca Jeannette Kawas, a friend and fellow conservation activist who was murdered in 1995, a crime that has never been solved. Brady described it as a pivotal moment in her journey.

"When the environmental movement of Honduras traveled to Tela to Jeanette's funeral, all the fears that I ever had, just disappeared," Brady said. "I clearly understood, that when a price is put on your head there’s no way out, so I choose to live and work without fear."

And work fearlessly she has. In nearly three decades of activism, Brady has been vastly important in the Honduran conservation movement. As the tourism industry has set off a wave of development and population growth on the once-sleepy Bay Islands, she and her colleagues have been there to make sure stewardship of local habitats remains a priority. The Bay Islands Conservation Organization, which she co-founded, is now influential on all three of the major islands. Roatan's coral reefs are among the healthiest in the Mesoameraican Barrier Reef region, and forests once damaged by unrestricted burning and hunting are now part of well-regulated parks.
Brady concluded her remarks by urging others to follow in her footsteps, to strive for protection of threatened natural resources, and to raise consciousness about the need to integrate sustainability with development.

"We remain confident that although changes in attitudes are a slow process, they are occurring," she said. "People are becoming aware of our planet’s problems, more concerned and involved. We remain hopeful that sooner rather than later, governments around the world will accept that economic interests are not more important than the environment, that a balance is a must."

"I encourage you to continue to support environmental organizations in your communities as well as abroad. We need your continued help and support to maintain the quality of life on our planet."

We couldn't be more proud of this year's prize winner, and we echo her sentiments. We encourage our supporters and donors to visit the islands of Roatán, Utila, and Guanaja to see for themselves the real impact Irma Brady and other conservationists have made there.

If you missed the Prize Ceremony, we invite you to watch the video of Brady's acceptance speech and the brief documentary we produced to introduce her to our audience. We also have many photos of the event now up on our Facebook page. We invite you to tag yourself if you were there!

We join Brady in thanking Seacology co-founder Ken Murdock for underwriting the Seacology Prize.

Fijian village opens new community center

On a sunny, breezy afternoon last Friday, members of Fiji's Nanuca Village gathered to officially open their new community hall.

Nanuca (pronounced na-NOO-tha) sits adjacent to two tabu areas—traditionally managed nature reserves—that were established in 2012 as limited no-take areas for 10 years. Seeing the momentum toward conservation that the village had begun on its own, Seacology offered in 2014 to fund the new community center in exchange for a commitment to extend protection of the 1,134-acre marine area and 208 acres of mangrove forest for an additional 15 years.

The brightly decorated new building was completed several months ago, but its opening was delayed by Cyclone Winston, which pummeled Fiji and its surrounding islands. The then-unfinished structure withstood Winston's torrential rain and 140 mph winds without damage and served as a shelter for many in the village during and after the storm.
"Everyone was happy and have asked me to convey their very sincere vinaka vakalevus (thank-yous) to the Seacology team and their donors," reports field representative Pettine Simpson, who represented Seacology for the dedication ceremony. "They said that they are appreciative of the beautiful building that you have built for their village and will hold their agreement with you paramount. They are looking forward to working in partnership with Seacology for the future of their environment and future generations."

We invite you to check out our many photos from the joyous festivities, over at our Facebook page.

Seacology Travel: Peru

August 5-15, 2017
Next summer, Seacology will lead our first-ever trip to Peru! We invite you to explore key sites of the Inca Empire with us, including Machu Piccu, the Sacred Valley, and more. We’ll also visit Foca Island, the location of our first project in Peru.

Learn more about the expedition in our brochure. Reservations are going fast for this trip, so don't hesitate if you're interested in joining us for this unforgettable excursion.

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New staff

Last month, Seacology welcomed new Development Associate Christine Mania. Christine brings a wealth of experience to our team, having excelled in both commercial finance and the nonprofit sector.

Christine takes the place of Liz Gregg, who has relocated to Mexico to work with Prescott College's research lab there. We thank her for her very successful tenure with Seacology and wish her the best in her career.

Your Holiday Shopping Can Benefit Islands!

As we prepare for the holiday season, we'd like to remind you that you can support Seacology at no additional cost to you by shopping at Amazon Smile. Simply click here to choose us as your preferred charity, then do your Amazon shopping via Amazon will donate a small percentage of the proceeds to our work.
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