Recently in Micronesia Category

Islands cover a tiny fraction of the planet's surface, but are home to over half of all extinctions. In this series, we'll introduce you to some of the rare and fascinating animals found on islands.

Unless you are an ornithologist, the word "megapode" might conjure images of a transformer-like creature in your mind. In reality, megapodes, or "incubator birds," are chicken-like birds who are the only type of birds to use something other than their body heat to incubate their eggs. Instead, they bury their eggs under large mounds of sand or decaying vegetation, using geothermal or volcanic heat to warm the eggs. The picture below shows a megapode standing atop his huge incubator mound. Imagine starting your life under a pile of volcanic-heated compost!

800px-Brushturkeykansaszoo.jpgRead on for more information about these unique birds.

This week kicks off the 10th Pacific Arts Festival, this year hosted by American Samoa. Twenty-seven countries are expected to participate in the festival, bringing their talents, tastes, and tales to Pago Pago in American Samoa.

Pacific Arts Festival.jpg
The Pacific Arts Festival began in 1972 and is held every four years in a different host country. Previous host countries have been Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Australia, Cook Islands, Samoa, New Caledonia, and Palau. The festival includes workshops as well as performances and allows each participant country to share and learn from each other. Indeed, the theme of the festival is Su'iga'ula a le Atuvasa: Threading the Oceania 'Ula'.  Ula is the Samoan equivalent of lei and according to American Samoa's Governor, Togiola T. A. Tulafono, the theme represents the "coming together of Pacific people to share their values, traditions, and spirit on the soils of Samoa."





I've been at Seacology for nine years now (I was the first paid employee, beating Executive Director Duane Silverstein by around a week). Each time a board meeting comes and passes, I'm astounded at both how time flies, as well as how we have grown as an organization. At their June 9 meeting, Seacology's board of directors approved seven new projects, bringing our total number of projects to 176. Moreover, a really cool milestone has been reached - Seacology now has projects on 100 islands in 44 countries throughout the world.

Wow.

wasini_kids.jpgFollowing are short descriptions of the projects passed by Seacology's board of directors at their June 9 meeting. You can find full descriptions on our website.

AMERICAN SAMOA, Pago Pago Village, Tutuila Island - Phase 3: Eradicate the dense stands of the destructive Falcataria moluccana tree adjacent to the National Park areas of American Samoa (NPSA). *

Left: Children on the mangrove walkway, Wasini Island, Kenya.

mhcolor.GIFSeacology Field Representative Simon Ellis and project leader Frankie Harriss sent us some wonderful photos and a report from the Ailuk Community, Marshall Islands. The Ailuk Community established a 160-acre marine protected area and a 55-acre terrestrial/marine protected area for a period of ten years.

In exchange, Seacology funded the construction of a solar-powered airport terminal and guest lodge. The project began in July 2007. In spite of some setbacks due to a lack of shipping options for materials to this remote area, the construction phase of the project was completed in January 2008 (photo of building under construction and completed below).

Under construction.JPG Completed building.JPG


Lisa's post from last week, "Island News from Fiji and Palau," brought me back to my trip to Micronesia in July. Accompanied by our Micronesia Field Representative Simon Ellis, I traveled to visit Seacology projects on Kosrae, Chuuk, Yap and Palau. Here's an excerpt from my report regarding Palau:

"The staff of the Palau Conservation Society kept us quite busy, with visits to the new company capitol on Babeldaob, a very impressive complex along the new Compact Road. The new road and the capitol will very much open Babeldaob to resettlement from Koror as well as new development pressures. We visited the Melekeok Bai (ceremonial house), walked an ancient stone path and attended the opening of a new open-air market near the capitol, where we met with the former president of Palau as well as the chief of Melekeok State (where Lake Ngardok is located).