Seacology Updates - April 2013
Wasini Island, Kenya
On Wasini Island, seawater sustains beautiful mangrove forests, but fresh water is hard to come by. In March, our Program Manager Karen Peterson visited Wasini to see how Seacology funds were helping the community store rainwater and preserve their precious mangroves. She gave this report:
The Wasini Island project includes repairs to water storage tanks. Why is it so difficult to store water on Wasini Island?
The island itself is limestone, and very porous, so it does not hold ground water. These catchment systems rely on the very simple concept of providing an impermeable surface for the collection of water; the water then drains to a covered holding tank.
Omar Abdallah Juma (left), Secretary of Wasini's Beach Management Unit, tours a water storage cistern with Seacology's Program Manager Karen Peterson
Many of the catchment and cistern systems on Wasini are around a hundred years old; with Seacology's assistance, the historic cisterns were repaired, and new tanks were built to accommodate the needs of the island.
This system is vital to the island, and the islanders treat the system with the utmost care. When I visited, recent rains had begun filling the cisterns after a period of drought. (During that time, the village had to purchase water from the mainland and transport it to the island by boat, an expensive and time-consuming proposition.) At the time of my visit, villagers were thrilled that the catchments were refilling and more grateful than ever for Seacology's support.
Rainwater collected in Wasini Island's cisterns drains into covered holding tanks like this one
What do the mangrove forests mean to the people of Wasini?
Wasini's mangroves are truly beautiful, and they are understandably very proud of them. By replanting mangrove trees and cracking down on illegal harvesting, they've shown a lot of foresight in realizing the forests' importance to protecting the island's shoreline -- acting as a nursery to marine species -- and as an intrinsic part of the island's beauty.
Wasini's Assistant Chief Bey Hemed Juma tours the mangrove's walkway, built by the Wasini Women's Group.
In fact, to make the mangroves more tourist-friendly, the Wasini Women's Group built a walkway through their amazing mangrove forest "coral garden" (limestone formations in the mangroves). Overall, the Wasini community appeared well organized and energetic, understanding that protecting their natural resources is key to a healthy future.
Seacology's East Africa field representative Dishon Lionel Murage (right) explores a mangrove "coral garden" -- limestone formations shaped by erosion.
***Read more about our project on Wasini Island
Seacology Prize Ceremony - October 3rd, 2013
It's never too early to start thinking about the next Seacology Prize Ceremony
! We don't know whom we'll be honoring quite yet, but we know we'll be doing it on Thursday, October 3rd, at the David Brower Center
in downtown Berkeley, California. Mark those calendars!
August 17 - 22, 2013
Spend three days off Guadalupe Island on the Solmar V liveaboard vessel swimming in cages with great white sharks. Seacology helped set up a desalination system on Guadalupe Island that delivers fresh water to a small fishing community.View the trip brochure (pdf) for more information.
June 22 - 29, 2013
Travel with Seacology to the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort on Vanua Levu Island for seven nights of water, reef and luxury. Visit two nearby villages (Ketei and Qumusea) where Seacology projects have improved the lives of Fijians while protecting surrounding forests. View the trip brochure (pdf) for more information.