OneReef Strategy and Marketing guru Suparna Vashisht was joined by 12 other attendees in a recent trip to Pohnpei Micronesia. Thank you Suparna for the write up!
“I recently returned from a remarkable trip to Pohnpei (Federated States of Micronesia), which is one of the project sites of OneReef. Working for NGOs doesn’t pay much, but the experience I just had of seeing tangible results in the field was simply priceless! I got to see our work first hand with our scientific partners, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, with local community leaders, and with our local NGO partners.
The OneReef project site in Pohnpei, is Ant Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. A few years ago, the traditional leader of Ant Atoll, Rohsa William Hawley, made a commitment to work with OneReef to design and implement a conservation plan for Ant Atoll. Since then, we and our scientific partner, Scripps Institute of Oceanography regularly visit to collect and analyze data on the health of the coral reef and adjust the conservation plan as needed as part of the 100 Island Challenge. The exciting development this time was Hawksbill Turtles! This critically endangered turtle hasn’t been seen in the area for decades, but because of the conservation efforts, a few had been seen again and there were 150 hatchlings this past season! The ones who survive the journey back to the ocean will return to lay their eggs! This was just one of the thrilling results of the OneReef work in the area.
The success of Ant Atoll and its traditional leader, has galvanized other remote island communities. As a result, four new communities signed similar agreements with OneReef: Palikir, Pakin, Lenger and Tephek-Takaiou.
Notably, 80% of biodiverse areas are controlled or claimed by local communities, yet, less than 5% of the $20 billion spent annually on the environment actually makes it to those communities. The OneReef Community Partnership Model is unique in that we identify and partner with local stewards to establish conservation plans that effectively protect the community’s marine environment. OneReef then delivers the technical, scientific and financial resources needed (reef monitoring technology, radar, boats, ranger station) to implement the conservation plan and trains community members to execute the plan (ranger training, reef monitoring etc.). Support the conservation work we do in partnership with communities by emailing me or visiting https://onereef.org/donate/ ”