Thailand Conservation 2 Week Special Report
Conservation Director, Ingrid Sprake, sent us the following report following this summer's popular 2 Week Special programme:
So how did most of your friends spend their summer holidays? Were they sitting at home waiting for exam results?
Or did they travel to exotic lands, learning how to dive, exploring the oceans, kayaking around the mangrove forests and riding through the jungle on the back of an elephant?
Well for 15 young adventurers this July, that's exactly what they did!
The volunteers and the Conservation team had an amazing time during the 2 Week Special programme. We ensured that everyone got the most out of their short stay with us.
So let's have a look at what they got up to…
Our Conservation project is split into three parts: Diving and marine research and salvage, mangrove regeneration and beach clean ups.
Diving and Marine Research Activities
After completing the PADI dive certification, our 2 Week Special volunteers received basic training in fish identification and survey techniques. Then they participated in a survey of some local reefs.
The data they collected during the survey was added to our own records and also entered on the Reef Check International Database which is a global resource used in the study of the world's coral seas.
Trash that gathers on the reefs is detrimental to the health of the fish populations, corals and animal life that rely on the reef to survive.
The volunteers managed to salvage nearly 10 kilos worth of fishing traps and trash on one dive alone!
The mangroves are essential for the health of coastal regions. Unfortunately, the mangrove forests are being cut down for commercial purposes at an alarming rate.
The volunteers spent time in the mangroves collecting seeds from the local forests, planting those seeds in our very own mangrove nursery, then planting the saplings into areas which have been heavily hit by deforestation.
In addition, we are working with the International Mangrove Action Project to provide data and information about the mangrove forests in this area of Thailand. Part of our survey involves kayaking around mangrove forests that are not accessible by foot.
Beach Clean Ups
During the month of July 2011 the volunteers collected an incredible 400 kilos of trash from local beaches and islands.
Cultural Events and Enrichment Days
Thailand is one of the oldest civilisations in the world and its customs, culture and history are richly diverse. The volunteers enjoyed taking part in the Buddhist Asalha Puja Ceremony, including helping the monks set up for the ceremony.
Elephants always remember so they say…well I know for sure that the volunteers will always remember their elephant trek through the forest. This was a definite highlight and a day that will live in the memories of our 2 Week Special volunteers for years to come.
So a big thanks to all our Conservation volunteers for their hard work this summer in Thailand, and to the 2 Week Special groups, we hope to see you back in Thailand on a longer stay in the future!