Spreading the word for marine conservation in Macuata
The Reef Rangers is a marine education/outreach programme that aims to improve environmental stewardship through youth education and raising awareness on Kia Island and beyond. The programme targets youths from the ages of 5-15 years who attend the local school on Kia Island, a small isolated island in Northern Fiji surrounded by marine environment of local, regional and global significance being the third largest barrier reef system in the world. The island has three villages and is home to under 300 people with the fishing industry being the number one source of income for over 80% of the local population. Community Centred Conservation (C3) has a field office based in Yaro Village on Kia and has been instrumental in driving marine conservation projects on the island.
With recent generous funding from the Kate Stokes Memorial Award, we have the following activities in the pipeline to spread the Reef Rangers project to other communities in Macuata over the coming months!
Each Conservation Ambassador will be assessed in terms of their current knowledge and their ability to impart that knowledge to the Reef Rangers. The project team will then deliver remedial training to eliminate any shortfalls or gaps in knowledge. We plan to select four Conservation Ambassadors to deliver the training to other communities.
We already have a wide range of activities and materials developed, so we plan to select the most successful of these and provide detailed guidelines and training on their delivery. Activities so far have included: snorkeling sessions, mangrove tree planting, beach cleanups, painting competitions, costume design and classroom sessions.
Using the Reef Rangers toolbox, the Conservation Ambassadors will be responsible for the majority of hands-on training for other communities. We will focus on schoolteachers, because they already have educational skills and can quickly rally their pupils to participate in the Reef Rangers. We will also set up a knowledge exchange system so that each Reef Rangers team can update the others on activities and ideas. Ideally we hope that an annual Reef Rangers jamboree can be arranged.