Recently in Emily Category

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that, as far as conserving biodiversity goes, Seacology is on the right track. The species richness on islands is 8 to 9 times greater than that of mainland environments according to this study performed by Holger Kreft and colleagues at the University of Bonn, UC San Diego and the University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde. To read more about this fascinating topic please see the associated article, Islands top a global list of places to protect, as well as the actual study, A global assessment of endemism and species richness across island and mainland regions.

Own Your Own Island

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Always wanted to own an island but never thought you could afford it? Then take a peak at the following blog entry:

10 Beautiful Private Islands for Sale (That You Could Actually Afford)

The article highlights 10 islands being sold or auctioned from different sellers that are from different climates, areas of the world and stages of development. Most are for sale for a *fraction* of the cost of buying a new home in, say, the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's a fabulous dream for many of us to have the chance to own an island - now that dream could come true!

Some Good News for Coral

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I love getting National Geographic's photography email newsletter. I used to get the magazine as well, but realized that it was collecting dust more than anything else. But the emails - they are some of the very few that I actually take the time to go through and read. Why? They are usually filled with odd snippets about nature and the environment that are accompanied by beautiful photographs - exactly the sort of thing that I'm interested in, can quickly glance at and absorb, and then move on.

atom.jpgIn the most recent edition that I perused today, was a pictorial story about an area of coral reef in the Marshall Islands that is apparently flourishing 50 years after being the test spot for an atom bomb. Working in the environmental field, it's not a regular occurrence to find stories that are actually *positive*, so this was a nice change of pace. It is absolutely incredible to imagine that in only half a century, a blink of an eye, coral and other marine life could begin to retake the area. This reality is, likely, due in large part to the remoteness of the area and the fact that, at least since the bombs were tested, it has been relatively undisturbed.

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I used to have a tropical fish aquarium. Fresh water - I always found salt water aquariums absolutely beautiful but was intimidated by the amount of work they seemed to require. Not only did I keep this 20 gallon aquarium, I transported it across numerous state lines - with the fish kept "securely" in a big ice chest filled with a few inches of water. Some of my fish moved from Florida to Arizona (2 different locations) and then to California. These trips were quite an ordeal - and not only caused my fish stress, but made me a nervous wreck as well. Keeping those fish alive during the multi-day car trip from Florida to Arizona, as you can imagine, was difficult. And as I have an affinity for ALL animals, letting "just a fish" die, wasn't something I could bear.

111-1111_IMG.jpg OfficeArt14.jpgHanging on one of our office walls is a Miao Headdress pictured to the right. The Miao people are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in China. Our executive director, Duane Silverstein, purchased this hat from a local woman (pictured above) on Hainan Island during Seacology's 2005 expedition to China. Although not a small island (with a population of millions), the residents of Hainan seemed to have very little contact with the western world, and, according to Duane, many were quite surprised to see a group of foreigners walking down the street!


Carvings from various types of wood can be found throughout the world. The four examples from the Seacology office that follow are from Palau, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

OfficeArt10.jpgTraditional Palauan Storyboard: Presented to Seacology by Chief Urong Victor Joseph of Ollei Village, Babeldaob, Palau. Carvings such as this were traditionally found on bai, or the beams of the men's club houses, but under the influence of Japanese artists during the Japanese occupation of Palau, the depiction of these stories was transferred to a smaller portable board.

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OfficeArt05.jpg Seacology has initiated over 20 projects in Fiji, thanks in part to our field representatives in the region. The work of the field representatives was discussed in Karen's most recent blog, "How a Seacology Project is Born". Because we work so often with Fijian villages, we have received many thank you gifts from these wonderfully generous people - and most of these have ended up on the walls of the Seacology office.

One of Ellen's recent blog entries, containing a photo of a Balinese dancer that hangs in our office, inspired me to photograph more of our incredible office artwork to share. I decided to start with the masks (my favorites), which have hung in a spot advantageous for me to view ever since I started working for Seacology - both at our old office and at the new.

OfficeArt04.jpgThis mask is a traditional Kolam (folk theatre) mask from Sri Lanka. Seacology's work in Sri Lanka has focused on conserving and protecting mangrove forests. We have helped fund the construction of a mangrove resource center, including a store selling local handicrafts to help provide a livelihood for young women, and have helped to plant thousands of mangrove seedlings around Kiralakele, in the Hambantota district of southern Sri Lanka.

I ran across this tidbit while cleaning out my inbox; corals have been added to the IUCN Red List for the first time. The coral pictured in this news item from National Geographic is the Floreana coral - one of ten corals found near the Galapagos Islands that have been added to the list of threatened species. A startling fact also mentioned in the above item is that coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Ocean are vanishing faster than rain forests.

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I was lucky enough to visit the Galapagos when I was 10, the summer between 5th and 6th grade - too young to fully appreciate where I was, but old enough to still think it was pretty cool. My aunt, my mother's youngest sister, lived on the Galapagos for 13 years and worked as a herpetologist for the Charles Darwin Research Center. Her love was, and is, tortoises - the giant tortoises of the Galapagos being the subject of her Ph.D. thesis. So not only did I get to visit these incredible islands, including a week long boat tour, I had a member of my family as an expert guide.

I was sucked into MySpace more than a year ago, and Facebook more recently, by friends and family who wanted to share their wonders with me, or more realistically just boost their friend count. I've spent many an hour "wasting" time writing comments, renewing friendships, playing games, attacking vampires and sending "gifts" (among other things) on these two networking sites. Yet these websites, now frequented by millions of other users, can be a great marketing tool for a nonprofit.

When the idea of creating a MySpace page for Seacology came up, I was very interested in designing it myself. If you know the tricks (supported by dozens of MySpace design sites across the web) you can create a MySpace page that is as attractive as any website you might find while surfing.