Conservation and Environment in Cambodia: Monthly Updates
Cambodia Diving & Marine Conservation Project - January 2013
In January, the volunteers surveyed 31 seahorse sites. We continued to monitor reef sites as well as continuously training new volunteers. The playground wall was completed and construction on the playground itself has begun. The volunteers were all very excited about this and were motivated for the work to continue. Work also started on an incinerator for the village. The windy weather has kept the volunteers busy with beach cleans.
This month we have expanded the survey area to include an extra 150 survey sites. The volunteers have been spotting seahorses here and are very excited about exploring the area further. Calmer weather has also made practice surveys and training dives much more effective.
All new volunteers were trained in seahorse identification and survey methods. Once fully trained, they can then help to train other volunteers as well as survey, which most people like to be very involved in.
We are continuing to survey each of the reef sites in an effort to build up a database for this season and compare fish and invertebrate populations and substrate composition. We hope to compare this data with past information to determine the long term effects of sustainable fishing methods and the community fishing area. Some long-term volunteers hope to closely study fish populations in particular.
The prolonged wind meant the volunteers were doing daily clean ups around the beach, village and project. The group would often be split to cover more area in a day and several volunteers took the initiative to do a beach clean on their own when they saw it was needed.
Our teaching volunteer Eileen worked together with Anita to revamp the school. Eileen wanted to implement some more structure to the class while Anita’s teaching experience came in handy. Together they were able to establish set class times and ensure the kids were getting the most out of the allocated time slots. Extra volunteers were giving some kids one-on-one classes to give them more attention and help in the specific areas they required.
The playground was up and running again this month with the end of the rain. Mark, our building volunteer, used his experience and expertise to help us with the surrounding wall. This was completed by the hard working volunteers, with 2500 bricks set in place. 15 support posts were also put in place this month so we can start February by moving sand into the playground.
We have just commenced work on an incinerator for the village. The volunteers have exercised their muscles the past week by unloading 4000 bricks, 17 bags of cement, 35 rice bags full of rocks, and 120 bags of sand. Some more experienced volunteers are keen to help out with the brick work and rendering and even happy to help out over the weekend. We hope to encourage the village to dispose of their waste in a more environmentally friendly way.
We helped a lot of volunteers celebrate their birthdays this month. Ranging from trivia to dress up parties we helped everyone celebrate. We also had some movie nights where volunteers watched a documentary on seahorses and helped them better understand the global population decline and why we are doing the work we are. It helped motivate the volunteers further.
Diving & Marine Conservation Project Coordinator in Cambodia