It’s week eight, and the two ZEP teams are running around finishing off personal projects, Green Fins coordination and trying to squeeze in those activities that “we have to do before we go”, and are evidently too busy to blog! I’m sure that they will be writing about their experiences here before they log off from Zoox, and we look forward to hearing their insights!
In Malapascua, 12 of the 14 dive centers have been recruited as Green Fins members thanks to the charm and efficiency of “The Green Fins” girls as they are now known island-wide. Meaghan has been busy with her quadrat, collecting information on coral cover and diver behaviour as part of a larger project to monitor reefs, diver contact and the effectiveness of Green Fins. Rietta has just finished an IEC, or an information and education campaign with local fishermen, to raise awareness of issues threatening local reefs and discussing what solutions they can bring about. She worked with local barangay officials (village government), fishermen and dive guides to tie it all together. In the end, she reached out to over 40 people, many of whom chose to receive their education through the windows!
- Rietta in full swing education mode
- Reaching a wider audience
Ing has been busy investigating waste management issues and possible solutions on the island, especially with issues like batteries and oil which are directly related to the diving industry. She’s had all sorts of funny conversations with people trying to reach through the language barrier asking about segregation and recycling, and she’s unearthed a great composting project from one of the resorts which serves as inspiration to the rest of the island! Her report is going to be submitted to the local government unit (LGU) to aid a new ordinance being developed for sustainable tourism on the island.
The weather has been … chilly, at least to my thin, acclimatised blood, but the girls are troopers and powering through the wind and rain to carry on with assessments and survey dives, despite the rocking of the boat!
Team Moalboal has been just as busy, with Wai working with teachers and then over 150 students to make the first steps towards having environmental content a permanent part of the local school’s syllabus… definitely a project to be continued by the next lucky ZEPs going to Moalboal! The day looked like such great fun, and I wish I’d been there with them. Working with local school’s here is such a privilege. The kids are hungry for information, and eager to learn!
- Hands up if you love coral reefs!
- Working to build the capacity of local teachers to teach environmental content
Rachael has also been working with her quadrat, to monitor t he reefs around Moalboal, and working with the LGU to collate their monitoring data into a report assessing reef health, threats and solutions that will be presented to the Mayor for his consideration. Michal has been working with several different stakeholders to ascertain various laws and policies on environmental issues that Green Fins can support, and Jonny has held Moalboal’s first (and the world’s second) Green Fins Ambassador programme. The programme works with the dive guides that the team has seen exceptional passion and enthusiasm for the environment, building their capacity to educate, and empowering them to be role models within their community.
It’s all wrapping up now. But we’re not packed up just yet. The ZEPs will being going through their feedback with Chloe and JJ over the next few days, and I guarantee they will be surprised with how much they have accomplished and developed, both personally and professionally. There’s been hard times, tough consultations, dealing with sensitive and controversial issues, logistical nightmares, flight problems and more, but they have all come out on top and have learnt from their experiences.
The two teams have worked so hard, and done a fantastic job at managing an international conservation project on the ground, and we are all proud of everything they’ve achieved. You all deserve a big pat on the back!