To foster future leaders in ocean conservation Bluecology works closely with One People One Reef to organize a conservation field program in Micronesia that includes innovative and science based approaches to marine conservation. The youth program seeks to inspire students and build confidence through mentorship and hands-on real life field experiences that provide insights into ocean health solutions and sustainability. The goal is to immerse students in a program that makes a difference in conservation,
The One People One Reef Youth Action Project is a unique program in a unique place, and to our knowledge, none like it exists elsewhere! This authentic science based experience pairs groups of young people from the U.S. and Micronesia in hands-on research and cultural immersion and exchange to address conservation challenges and potential solutions. Students collect data for One People One Reef a team of community members and scientists working together to facilitate adaptive ocean management planning combining traditions and science.
Youth Action Project Background
The One People One Reef Youth Action Project was created in response to the Ulithi community’s view that an education focus on sustainable ocean management should include their youth. The project was developed in early 2015 in partnership with One People One Reef, and directors Nicole Crane and John Rulmal, Jr. The first youth team arrived that summer to assist with the consequences of Typhoon Masak. The team gathered baseline data on species that serve as indicators of reef health, and participated in community service recovery efforts.
The program has expanded to bringing college students, educators and scientists to Ulithi annually to assist community leaders, local students, and the One People One Reef team in the development of an action plan for youth leadership.
College students collaborate with local youth on coral reef management and community projects, learning to combine island traditions with modern science for sustainable ocean management, guided by scientists and community leaders.
Students actively participate in the data collection, community engagement and interviews, and cultural exchange. The group is small – eight students – which creates an intimate and immersed learning experience and allows each person to really contribute.
Student Scholarship Fund: Support a student and inspire the next generation
Bluecology works closely with One People One Reef a group of communities and scientists, affiliated with such institutions as the University of California Santa Cruz, the California Academy of Sciences, Cabrillo College, and more.
In 2017 a Ulithi Youth Project scholarship fund was established to help students who demonstrate both merit and financial need to participate in youth program.
Over 50% of the Youth Program participants are local residents. Some of these students have never visited the islands and reef environments within their own atoll. Engaging local youth in science in the context of the importance of traditional ecological knowledge fosters a path towards understanding how traditional and contemporary science intersect when addressing pressing issues such as reef resilience and food security.
While the course is tuition free, funds are needed to cover expenses such as equipment, supplies, fuel, and other materials.