Carynne McIver: July 2011 Archives

Each year, Seacology honors an indigenous islander who has fought against the odds to protect his or her native environment. Our winners come to California to receive the award and share their amazing stories. This event is always inspiring and memorable, and we hope you will make plans to join us for our complimentary reception on the evening of Thursday, October 6, 2011, at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. The event is open to all friends of Seacology.

Our 2011 Seacology Prize Recipient is Irman Meilandi of Mandalamekar Village on Java, Indonesia. Irman is a courageous environmentalist from the highlands of West Java. Having grown up in this remote community nicknamed "the village at the end of the world," Irman returned to Mandalamekar after finishing college to protect the native rainforests from threats of clear-cutting. He has convinced the Mandalamekar community to protect substantial areas of their forests, and has spearheaded tree replanting efforts and other conservation programs. In recognition of Irman's accomplishments, he is the recipient of our 2011 Seacology Prize.

Above, Irman speaks to the Mandalamekar community. Photo by Karen Peterson. 

Last January, Seacology's Board of Directors approved our first project in Jamaica. The project is supporting the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA), the nation's largest protected area, which includes extensive mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Such coastal ecosystems provide essential habitat to many species of birds, fish, invertebrates, and plants and are vital for islands as protection against erosion and flooding. Seacology partnered with the local organization responsible for managing PBPA to help construct a field office and barracks for use by the professional rangers who enforce the no-take fish sanctuaries in the reserve. To conserve resources, these structures were created out of recycling shipping containers, which convert into excellent (and even two-story!) office buildings.