Micronesia: Ulithi Atoll
Youth Community Service and Reef Conservation Project
|The Ulithi Program
Bluecology works closely with One People One Reef onepeopleonereef.ucsc.edu. to provide opportunities for college and high school students, and other interested individuals, to obtain direct experience in field sampling methods, and to work closely with local youth and community members to bring awareness and action to the issues of reef management, food security, and the critical role that traditional knowledge and practice can play.
One People One Reef works with outer island communities to bring traditions and modern science together in a unique approach to sustainable ocean management. Participants will learn first hand about the work of One People One Reef onepeopleonereef.ucsc.edu.
Participants also work closely with communities and local leaders on social and ecological projects. See detailed Youth Project brochure.
The program begins in Yap known for its cultural traditions, and the landmark designation of the Manta Ray Sanctuary in 2008. Students will have opportunities to search for manta rays and snorkel in local waters. The reefs and channels surrounding the island are home to a spectacular array of fish.
Located approximately 100 miles northeast of Yap State, Ulithi Atoll has 200 miles of coral reef. Ulithi’s lagoon is surrounded by 36 tropical islands, only four of which are inhabited. Ulithi has a high number of fish species and the atoll hosts the most important nesting grounds for green sea turtles in all of Micronesia.The Ulithi community continues to practice their traditional lifestyle. They are welcoming to visitors and are a genuinely caring people. Community health is intimately connected to reef health and many traditions and governance frameworks are designed around the ocean.
Working with the program leader, community leaders and Ulithi youth, students will conduct reef surveys; learn about sea turtle monitoring; help create an educational program to teach local children about coral reefs; conduct beach surveys and catalog marine debris; and help develop ideas for an action plan for the next steps of sustainable development.
Students will gain first hand experience living and working within a different culture, and learn the importance of traditional knowledge and management techniques. They also will obtain hands-on experience using scientific methods to collect data in the field, and will explore how modern science and technology can be combined with traditional techniques. They will gain an understanding of how small coastal communities depend heavily on marine resources, and the role those resources have played in shaping culture and social dynamics.
For the summer 2019, students will continue to work with the program leader, community leaders and Ulithi youth to conduct reef surveys; monitor nesting sea turtles; conduct beach surveys and catalog marine debris; and help develop ideas for an action plan for the next steps of sustainable development. New this summer will the monitoring surveys and activities to assess how the of the removal of invasive species, which have detrimentally impacted native biodiversity and horticulture, may have an impact on biodiversity recovery and food security.
Student will receive a certificate of completion listing skills and techniques learned, as well as the amount of hours of service performed.
If you have questions about the program or about One People One Reef, contact the OPOR co-director Nicole Crane: firstname.lastname@example.org
2019 Dates: June 7 – 26
2019 Cost: $3985 (approximate)
— includes: Yap domestic airfare, up to four per room accommodations, meals, land transport, boating excursions, leadership
— does not include: Airfare from home to Yap, snacks, bottled water, snorkel gear, insurance
Group Size Limit: 7
Leaders: May Roberts, John Rulmal Jr.
May Roberts is a fourth year doctoral candidate at the University of California Santa Cruz in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. She received her M.Sc. in marine science from King Abdullah’s University of Science and Technology, and her B.S. in marine biology from University of California at Davis. She is a research fellow with the National Science Foundation and participated in the One People One Reef Outer Islands Science Cruise in 2017, and led the Ulithi Youth Action Project in 2018.
John Rulmal Jr.is Ulithi Project co-leader, the local project manager for One People One Reef and a community facilitator for Ultihi Atoll and the Outer Islands.
Nicole Crane is professor in Biology at Cabrillo College, and Project Co-leader for One People One Reef