October 2010 Archives

Reminder: Smart Travel Contest!

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How would you like to swim next to a 50 foot whale? With the help of Seacology and Trazzler, you can! Submit your travel writing to Trazzler's Smart Travel contest by November 15 and you might win a spot on a Seacology ecotourism adventure to swim with humpback whales in the Polynesian island of Tonga.

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The Smart Travel contest asks: Can Travel Make Us Better People? Do you think travel can make the world a better place? Is it possible to make a positive contribution to a community just by visiting?

Since islands appear in every corner of our planet, Seacology board members, supporters, and staff frequently travel to islands around the world to visit Seacology project sites and meet with communities we've helped.

Now, Seacology has teamed up with Trazzler, an online travel website that recommends personalized travel experiences to its users. Trazzler allows you to submit personal, one-of-a-kind trip descriptions, and then share and suggest them to other Trazzler users. Trazzler promotes Smart Travel--trips that are more than just a visit, but instead allow you to truly explore the world around you as an active, rather than passive, traveler. Trazzler believes that travel can be a good thing in the world--that it can make the planet a better place to live, and make us more conscientious people and global citizens.

Seacology is helping Trazzler put this idea to the test. Trazzler users can enter the Smart Travel contest and submit their own trips. Two lucky winners will be selected to join Seacology on an ecotourism adventure to swim with humpback whales in South Pacific island of Tonga. Tonga is one of the few locations in the world where humans can swim with humpback whales. The 10-day trip will begin in Nuku'alofa, Tonga's capital and continue north to the Ha'apai island group, where travelers will have the opportunity to swim with humpback whales. In addition to up-close whale encounters, the trip will include opportunities for snorkeling and several night dives amidst Tonga's pristine coral reefs--and a visit to the Seacology project in the Ha'apai islands, where Seacology is establishing a marine reserve.

So what do you think--can travel make us better people? Join Trazzler today and share your life-changing trip experiences in the Smart Travel contest! 

The world's largest living species of fish, whale sharks are internationally recognized as vulnerable, facing threats from commercial fishing and habitat destruction. In the summer months, as many as 300 whale sharks gather north of Isla Mujeres, off Cancun, and farther north near Holbox, Mexico. These gentle giants are welcoming to human visitors, and many divers have experienced the thrill of swimming with them. Trouble is, several times a week, huge cargo ships travel through congregation sites, sometimes striking the slow-moving creatures. Currently, there are no demarcation buoys to create shipping lanes and warn ship captains to stay clear because of the vulnerable whale sharks. Seacology is working with local guides to deploy a series of state-of-the-art demarcation buoys complete with GPS transponders that will warn ships to stay clear. Once these buoys are deployed, official navigation charts would also denote the area as a whale shark reserve.
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Seacology has teamed up with Undercurrent, a leading dive magazine, to help protect the whale sharks that make their home around Mexico. Undercurrent subscribers have already contributed nearly $6,000 toward the $45,000 needed for the buoy project, and the local tour operators, hotels, and other businesses in the area will be donating up to half the cost, as long as Seacology can raise the rest. Now, for every dollar you give to this project, Undercurrent subscriber Elaine Mathews of Long Beach, California, will match it with a dollar of her own, up to $5000. That's right; your tax-deductible contribution will be doubled. Please help protect these gentle giants, by donating to Seacology. Be sure to note that your tax-deductible donation is for the whale shark buoy project. Remember, every dollar you give will be doubled, thanks to the generosity of Elaine Mathews' matching gift. Please donate now to help save the whale sharks!

Water, Water Everywhere...

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Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers worldwide join together to raise awareness about an important issue. This year's topic is water, and nothing could be more relevant to islands! Even though islands are surrounded by oceans, they are plagued by problems resulting from not enough--or too much--water. 

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Last Thursday, October 7, over 100 Seacology supporters joined board members and staff at the David Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley to honor Rabary Desiré of Madagascar, the 2010 recipient of the Seacology Prize. The Seacology Prize honors indigenous islanders who have dedicated their lives to preserving their environment.  At the ceremony, Desiré described his journey as a leading Malagsy environmentalist.  A self-taught expert in Madagascar's unique wildlife, Desiré shared the vocalizations of the endangered silky sifaka lemur. (If you missed the ceremony, you can hear them yourself in this video.)

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Photo Credit: Susan Racanelli, Seacology

If you live in the Bay Area, you still have time to RSVP to this year's Seacology Prize Ceremony. Seacology will be honoring Mr. Rabary Desiré of Madagascar next Thursday, October 7, at the David Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley.

Mr. Desiré has dedicated his life to protecting the unique wildlife of his native Madagascar, where he established a private conservation reserve and became a self-taught expert on Malagasy flora and fauna. Seacology will be awarding Mr. Desiré the 2010 Seacology Prize for his conservation efforts. The evening will include a reception and keynote address by Mr. Desiré, who will share his inspiring story with us. Join Seacology Board Members and supporters at this special event!

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RSVP at (510) 559-3505 or carynne@seacology.org.

A full press release describing Mr. Desiré's achievements can be found here