Ulithi Atoll Youth Program
One People One Reef Youth Action Project

Micronesia: Yap & Ulithi Atoll

Youth Community Service and Reef Conservation Project

Bluecology works closely with One People One Reef onepeopleonereef.ucsc.edu. to provide opportunities for college and high school students, and other interested parties, to obtain direct experience in field sampling methods, and 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.

We work closely with communities and local leaders on social and ecological projects. See detailed Youth Project brochure.

Reef monitoring
  • Learn about ecological resilience, cultural integrity and traditional environmental sustainability

  • Participate in and gain experience with coral reef monitoring and research in this remote archipelago.

  • Interact with Ulithi youth and community leaders to develop ocean relevant education materials, and youth plans for conservation management.

  • Learn about local customs and traditions

  • Assist with community activities such as marine debris monitoring, cataloging and clean up, and taro farm weeding and planting

  • Enjoy snorkeling, local music, and island activities
The program begins in Yap known for its cultural traditions, and landmark designation of the Manta Ray Sanctuary in 2008. Students will have time 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. 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.

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 Program

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 will obtain hands-on experience using scientific methods to collect data in the field, and 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.

Student Benefits

Student will receive a certificate of completion listing the amount of hours of service performed.
Program Contact: Nicole Crane nicrane@cabrillo.edu

Tentative Itinerary:

Jun 8: SF/Honolulu. Check in at San Francisco International Airport for United Airlines flight to Yap via Honolulu and Guam. Cross the International Date Line and arrive in Guam the following day.

Jun 9: Arrive in Yap. Late arrival in Colonia. Group is transferred to your hotel.

Jun 10: Yap. Learn about Micronesian reef ecology and Yap culture. Data collection training including in-water training survey; this snorkeling excursion also includes time at Manta Ray Channel to look for the manta rays for which Yap is famous. Preparation for Ulithi Atoll reef and community work. Cultural excursion and island hike: the people of Yap have retained many ancient traditions and customs, including the famous stone money, and we will learn what these customs signify in the life of the Yapese.

Jun 11: Yap/Ulithi. This morning we take a 45-minute flight to Falalop on Ulithi Atoll and transfer to our lodge. Excellent snorkeling from our beachfront hotel. Next nights at the Falalop lodge, or remote islands sleeping on the floor or beach..

Jun 12-28: Ulithi Atoll: Daily community service activities including reef surveys and community service programs. Work with local youth and community members in the development of action plans. Visit remote islands and the outer island of Gielop known as the largest green turtle nesting site in Micronesia.

Jun 25: Ulithi/Yap. Morning reef survey. Early afternoon flight back to Colonia on Yap. Overnight in comfortable hotel.

Jun 26 Yap. Wrap up. Late afternoon free time for shopping and exploration. Farewell dinner. Prepare for late night departure home.

Jun 27 Yap/Guam/Honolulu/SF. Mid-night flight from Yap to San Francisco, via Guam. Cross the International Date Line and arrive in Honolulu in the late afternoon of the previous day. Mainland student arrive on June 27..

Trip Information:
All in-water work is using only snorkel gear. Students need to know how to swim and be proficient snorkelers. Yap and Ulithi are remote regions with a hospital on Yap and the nearest full service hospital located in Guam. Medical personal doctors are available on Yap and Ulithi. Students stay in dorm style rooms.

The Ulithi community faces many challenges including issues relating to marine debris, climate change, waste disposal, imported food and related health issues. Students will receive detailed pre-departure material to prepare them for their experience including history, culture, ecology, and social issues of Yap and Ulithi, plus student suggested packing list and health and safety items.Weather will determine the order and possibilities of our water activities.

How to Apply
*Complete the online application and pay the deposit fee
(see top of right column: Sign Up Here)
*Submit a short essay: 1) Why you wish to join the OPOR Ulithi Youth Project, 2) List your goals, 3) Outline what abilities and attributes you will share with the project team, and 4) Explain how participating will complement your academic and career goals.
Submit essay to:  winning@bluecology.org.

Contact our office for more details: tripmanager@bluecology.org.

2018 Dates: June 8-27

2018 Cost:

-- includes: Yap domestic airfare, accommodations, meals, snorkeling excursions, leadership

-- does not include: Airfare from home to Yap, snacks, bottled water, snorkel gear, insurance

Group Size Limit: 8

Leaders: May Roberts,
John Rulmal Jr.
Advisor: Nicole Crane,Eva Salas

May Roberts is a third year doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She received her M.Sc. in marine biology at KAUST.  She served as a research diver on the 2017 One People One Reef Outer Islands science cruise In addition, she is an enthusiastic marine educator, and an experienced leader of citizen science sub-tidal monitoring projects

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.

Project Advisor Nicole Crane
is professor in Biology at Cabrillo College, and Project Co-leader for One People One Reef

Youth Program Advisor Eva Salas, Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Student Comments

"Being in the field with scientists was a tremendous honor and an amazing learning experience...in the field of marine science. It was physically hard work and psychologically intense, but amazingly rewarding and fun.”

Another student writes, “On our expedition to Ulithi Atoll, I learned more applicable skills than I could ever learn in a classroom. This is the type of learning experience that can only be attained by doing -- and I can think of no better place to achieve that than on this expedition.”

"I am honored to have gotten to go to a place that is so magical, and be welcomed in by the people as warmly as they did. I could not say enough good things about this trip or my experience. It truly changed my life and my perspective on the world."

Another Student writes," One accomplishment that I think of is the importance of sharing the knowledge and experiences of how we manage and the conserve the nature through science and traditional practices with the help of some of our scientist friends who cared about us and volunteered the time, effort, and support to travel from far away places to come to our small islands."

Contact Trip Manager here

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