Diving & Marine Conservation Volunteering in Thailand - Monthly Updates
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Conservation in Thailand – Monthly Update February – March 2014
A total of 78 Reef Watch surveys were conducted by our volunteers during the month of February and March with a total an area of 184979.3 meter squared was analysed.
The next step in the Green Fins Survey and Grouper Study is to check with more detail the different zones of the island in order to look for any specific conditions to explain the different subtract cover and the abundance of the species found in the area.
We continued cooperating with Krabi Provincial Administrative Organisation (KPAO) in order to study 3 artificial reefs located in the area. New samples on the Artificial Reef could give us more information to advise the KPAO regarding better locations for placing these structures.
For the month of February and March our volunteers cleaned up underwater debris in an area of over 50940.2 square meters involving 111 volunteers and 1001 minutes. This resulted in just over 51.4kg of loose debris, mainly plastic materials like fishing nets and bottles.
On the mainland the most polluted beaches were cleaned, all together an area of 39200 square meters, and collecting 921kg of garbage involving 76 volunteers and 584 minutes.
Projects Abroad continue to cooperate with important scientific groups and people whom are running a very interesting project known as “Sea Watchers”, this organisation encourages the general population to make observations on their surrounding natural environment. The data are available on the following website: www.seawatchers.org
Sightings of endangered species
Every survey that the research divers conduct is complemented with the sightings of endangered species like dolphins, turtles and sharks. Projects Abroad Thailand continues to work with E-Sharks Thailand and Phuket Marine Biological Centre in relation to the study of the endangered species. Projects Abroad have also started the Global Shark Campaign which aims to raise awareness and provide research and data to contribute to the conservancy of all shark species involving 18 countries across 4 continents.
For the month of February and March our volunteers conducted 90 surveys with an area analysed of 147148.9 meter square, they spotted 5 hawksbill turtles, 12 black tip reef sharks, 1 bamboo shark and 7 leopard sharks.
February’s Cultural workshop
Projects Abroad volunteers attended a cultural workshop on the 13th February. It was Makha Bucha day. On that day Projects Abroad volunteers learnt how to fold lotus to make it a blooming lotus before offering it to the Lord Buddha. Traditionally Buddhists go to the temple to make merit and give some offerings to the monks. The offerings could be anything from flowers to food and the most well-known flower to offer is lotus. The lotus represents purity. That is why it is widely used in holy rituals in Buddhism.
Global Shark Awareness Campaign and Mangrove Planting
This was the second time joining the locals for our Global Shark Awareness Campaign. Projects Abroad volunteers had special activities at Baan Khao Thong School with 120 students from preschool to primary school.
Total number of students who joined our Global Shark Awareness Campaign from December 2013 to February 2014 was approximately 940 and the total number of schools joining the campaign was now 5.
On that day volunteers presented the students with our Global Shark Campaign presentation followed by planting mangroves and also played various different games.
Both mangroves and sea grass play a very important role in the marine ecological system. They both help filter pollutants and also absorb excess nutrients and trap sediments to increase water quality, they are also nursing grounds for many marine species including several
February’s community outreach
Projects Abroad volunteers were invited to by the KPAO to join the community at Baan Khlong Rua to plant sea grass. There were at least 100 children from the schools in the area joining in this activity.
There was a presentation regarding the importance of sea grass by the experts, then the volunteer and the children went down to the beach and ventured out about 150 meters during low tied and planted over 5,000 plants.
Phang Nga Shelter
Projects Abroad volunteers went to Phang Nga Shelter during the month of March, the purpose of this visit was to help renovate the buildings and maintain the vegetable garden.
Phang Nga Shelter is a shelter providing help and support for abused women and children. They are hosting everybody from Thai citizens to migrants. At the time when Projects Abroad volunteers went, there were a few Rohingya refugees stayed at the shelter.
The activities provided were to support human rights and also promoting sufficient economy. Our volunteers worked in groups. One helped paint the walls to make the building more cheerful, with English words promoting the education of the English language. They painted colourful pictures with names in English at the bottom so the kids could learn English every day. The other group renovated the garden and planted more vegetables; these vegetables will be used in their kitchen to support their economy.
Turtle Rehabilitation Work
In February and March we visited the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in PMBC. Over there our volunteers were split into two groups, some were introduced to some tanks that needed to be cleaned. While some went and worked in the larger tanks where the Olive Ridley turtles lived. Volunteers helped scrub the tanks and also the turtle shells.
The month of February was a little more special for us, as the volunteers had the opportunity to release 6 green turtles; these turtles were at the PMBC for around one year and were the size of a 3 year old turtle that would have matured in the wild. These turtles were also tagged and hopefully we will bump into them in the future.
After the working with the turtles, we took our volunteers through to the Aquarium where they had the opportunity to view the all the marine life that were on display.
Conservation Project Manager, Thailand