What am going to do in the Philippines?
I am heading off to the Philippines to do my internship in marine conservation, my dive master and work as a volunteer with Marine Conservation Phillippines.
I am starting 21 Aug 2017 with Marine Conservation Philippines. For more information about Mr. Soren Knudsen, the Program Manager and the organization click this button M.C.P
Here is a video of Marine Conservation Philippines compliment of Mr. Soren Knudsen, posted by Matt Jarvis. “This video is fairly recent, and detail some of the work done at M.C.P.” Soren Knudsen.
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Conservation could mean different things to different people, I literally think it is the difference between life and death. This is what the dictionary says about conservation.
At M.C.P conservation is build on four pillars: Science, Education, Application & Integration.
The work at M.C.P consists of long-term monitoring of the reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and all interaction between fish and invertebrates as well as human activity over extended periods of time.
Such actions can include anything from setting up marine protected areas to planting mangrove forests, as well as educational efforts to reach local communities about overfishing and marine pollution.
Duties of a volunteer include data collection thus assisting with the future implementation of efforts maintaining and improving healthier reefs. Data collection is used for long-term monitoring, to help determine what would be the best course of action to aid, maintain or improve the health of the reef.
There are three types teams one can join at M.C.P.
The Substrate Survey Team,
The Invertebrate Survey Team
The Fish Survey Team.
For more details about these teams and the roles they play click this button. The 3 Teams
Which of the teams you join mainly depends on the length of your stay at M.P.C. Your own goals and interest would play a huge role as well.
As a volunteer at M.C.P, the first focus and attention will be on my training.
I plan to go for 6 months or longer. That way I can make the most of my training and contribution. I plan to join the Fish Survey Team.
The training at M.C.P honors the PADI standards. Initial dive training is there to make diver safe, responsible and capable. However, at M.C.P. the instructors have much higher aspirations due to the fact that the dive programs are keyed into the conservation efforts and the scientific work. Because of this, the diver training is much like a diving academy and not your typical recreational dive training, common to busy sport & recreational dive shops.
As a volunteer, I will dive deep into learning a lot more of ecology and marine biology. Those two fields are normally not included in dive master training. I will be trained to a much higher standard than a standard Divemaster courses also known as DM.
Because the length of one’s stay is normally the determining factor to which of the three dive teams one would join, I decided to go for 6 months at least.
Four months gives me a chance to become well trained to a high standard and then at least two months to make some significant contributions and a positive impact.
My plan is to stay much longer and I am taking steps and preparing to achieve that so that I can truly contribute to the extensive training that they provide.
A great part of the work done by M.C.P. takes place underwater, unseen and unknown by most people. This is why M.C.P have outreach programs creating awareness.
My work as a volunteer aside from the diving also include;
Participating in a once a month Environmental Club Day held by M.C.P for local science high school. Activities range from taking students snorkeling, educating them about pollution and the effect of plastic and even beach clean-ups.
Each week one dive site is selected where beach clean ups & dive clean-ups are initiated. A lot of the trash sinks down on the reefs or get washed on shore. Trash collected then gets recycled preventing it from causing further harm to marine life and the environment.
Depending on the season, seedlings are collected from a mangrove nursery ran by M.C.P and then replanted. Another aspect of the local outreach programs is painting murals with local school children.
Repairing roads connecting M.C.P with the various dive sites where surveying is done.
To summarize: working towards a common goal of helping to save a fragile marine ecosystem trough conservation by being actively involved.
If you would like to get involved but can’t volunteer yourself, see my crowdfund and help me be involved on your behalf. Your name will go among the other names on my wall of heroes that are helping me make a difference and a positive impact.
A typical week could look something like this.
Mon – Fri, work in the field.
Sat – very mixed program, could be community work, a trip to Apo Island, exploratory diving or other things. And my absolute favorite thing as a hot-blooded South-African – BBQ in the evening.
Sunday – Day off. This is when I will relax and update my blog, giving you videos and insight into our work.
A normal day looks something like this.
07:20 Dive Briefing
07:30 Load up Trucks
08:00 Leave for Dive
13:30 Back at base – clean gear and dive shed
14:00 Lunch – clear your own dishes
15:00 Most days a lecture or other afternoon activities + data entry from surveys
16:30 Free time to workout, run, play games etc
19.00 Dinner ( it’s your turn to do the dishes once a week )
20:00 Relax/Socialize – or study for scuba dive course.
Pictures are from Info-Package-To-New-Volunteer pdf Compliments of M.C.P. “ consider the environment and don’t print”
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