July 17, 2018
Broadcast live from the Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium in Cairns, Australia, experts from around the globe share lessons learned from years working on coral restoration. From offshore coral nurseries, to restoration mitigation techniques, to climate change adaptation, this presentation session seeks to foster knowledge sharing and exchange between managers and practitioners across the globe.
June 20, 2018
Learn about an innovative citizen science water quality monitoring program in Hawai‘i: Hui O Ka Wai Ola (association of the living waters). This partnership effort was developed to address growing concern with water quality in Maui and explore how citizen science can augment data being collected by the State Department of Health. Comprised of community member volunteers, scientists, supporters, and partner groups, Hui O Ka Wai Ola regularly measures coastal waters for pollutants such as sediment and nutrients that can harm coral reefs and human health, and informs communities and decision-makers when pollutants exceed the State’s limits. Hui O Ka Wai Ola is a partnership effort in collaboration with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, Clean Water Branch.
Last March, The Nature Conservancy brought together 25 women from Papua New Guinea, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, the U.K., and the U.S. to talk about climate change and how it can affect men, women, and children in different ways. With more than a decade of experience working on climate adaptation in the region, Dr. Lizzie McLeod thought she had a handle on the impacts – e.g., coastal flooding and erosion from sea-level rise and storm surge, human migration, changes in rainfall that affect food and water security, and changes in ocean temperature that can drive coral bleaching. What really struck Dr. McLeod after listening to stories from the women across the region were the climate impacts that are not often spoken about – such as young girls experiencing violence when they have to walk farther to get water during drought, or when women are unable to cook and wash clothes due to water shortages and become victims of domestic abuse, or children who are unable to attend school because there is not enough water to flush toilets and prepare lunches.
Through this learning exchange, Dr. McLeod realized the power of discussions where women are free to speak openly about their concerns and actions needed to address the tremendous challenges presented by climate change. She is inspired by the incredible leadership these women demonstrate to reduce the risks of climate change and to help sustain their families and communities.
Inspired by Dr. McLeod and the women who participated in this learning exchange, the Reef Resilience Network wanted to share their stories, leadership, and recommendations to decision makers to catalyze new and/or refine existing policies that address the needs of women more fully. We asked Ms. Berna Gorong, a workshop participant from Yap, some questions about the learning exchange.
Reef Resilience Network (RRN): You recently participated in a learning exchange in Palau for women from across the Pacific Islands to share their experiences coping with climate impacts and leading innovative solutions. Can you share some of these nature-based solutions?
Ms. Gorong: Some solutions that were shared at the Palau workshop included:
- replanting mangrove trees in areas that have died back or been disturbed to help reduce flooding and erosion from the combination of storm impacts and sea-level rise;
- replanting taro in less vulnerable areas, moving it from areas that have been threatened by inundation and saltwater intrusion during storm surges or higher tides; and
- planting nipa palm in the flooded taro patches, so women can use nipa plant leaves for thatched roofing of traditional structures.
RRN: Can you talk about the importance of solutions that are developed directly by communities themselves?
Ms. Gorong: It is important that communities themselves are involved directly in developing solutions to address the issues and challenges they face. This is part of being a resilient and adaptive community. If you are just being told what is the best or right solution for you without fully understanding the rationale, it does not build the adaptive and intuitive capacity of communities which makes them resilient to change. Island communities had survived long ago by constantly observing their environment and learning how to best adapt and overcome obstacles.
RRN: Were there any surprises from the Palau learning exchange?
Ms. Gorong: For me, the surprise at the Palau learning exchange was hearing the perspective from the western women and the comparisons between the rights of women in the western world and the island communities. It was quite enlightening for me and made me even more proud that I was born and raised in my island culture and traditions that empower me as a woman with a clearly defined role that builds up my family and community.
RRN: What advice would you give to a marine manager who wants to more effectively engage with women and vulnerable groups in responding to climate change?
Ms. Gorong: My advice is to be able to listen with the “right” ear, especially if you’re engaging with a group that is not of your cultural landscape. A lot of times when we do not understand the cultural landscape of an area, it is easy to misinterpret things. Listening, understanding, and speaking English for a person who normally interacts in their non-English mother tongue is a challenge. Even myself who speaks English as a second language and mainly interacts in English for my professional life and living in an island community, it takes me a while to understand English when speaking with someone for the first time because I realize that my literal understanding may not be the main focus of the discussion. So that’s what I mean by listening with the “right” ear. Be cognizant of the presence of the cultural perspective and authentic in your questions and engagements.
You can read more about this work here and read a summary of the new article on raising women’s voices to inform climate adaptation polices. This work was supported by the Nature Conservancy and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) – International Climate Initiative (IKI).
February 28, 2018
Fernando Secaira of The Nature Conservancy presents a pilot project underway in Mexico in partnership with Swiss Re and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo governments to insure coastal natural ecosystems that support tourism and offer an associated source of funding for ongoing reef protection and repair.
February 14, 2018
As coral restoration programs are developed, a great deal of thought goes into site selection and design of nurseries and outplant sites to ensure success. Until this past summer, one of the considerations, “can our sites withstand a direct hit from a hurricane” has been mostly theoretical. Hear experts from Florida and the Caribbean discuss impacts from hurricanes Irma and Maria, what worked and what didn’t, and what they will do in the future to mitigate impacts both to coral nurseries and outplant sites. This Coral Restoration Consortium webinar features six presentations followed by a panel Q&A session. Speakers include: Kemit-Amon Lewis, Shannon Gore, Sean Griffin, Kerry Maxwell, Jessica Levy, and Dalton Hesley. View the webinar presentations.
Reflecting on the past year, there has never been a more critical time for effective coral reef management. In June of 2017, the world’s longest and most widespread bleaching event on record ended, with many reefs experiencing significant mortality. To address these – and other – challenges, the Reef Resilience Network continues to empower a global network of marine managers and scientists to improve coral reef management by sharing and implementing cutting-edge resilience science, inspiring greater collaboration, and working with global and regional reef initiatives to roll out guidance and best practices. Based on feedback from our managers, we have led in-person and online trainings, and have added new webinars, case studies, journal summaries, guidebooks, and modules on key topics to our website, reefresilience.org, which had over 150,000 visitors this year alone!
We are inspired by the thousands of reef managers, practitioners, and scientists in our Network and beyond, who spend their days working to reduce the threats facing reefs and supporting the necessary policies and programs to help our reefs to recover and thrive. We thank you and look forward and ahead to 2018 – the International Year of the Reef – and are grateful for the renewed attention to one of our world’s most precious resources, our coral reefs. See how we, as a Network, have improved reef management around the world.
January 16 – February 8, 2018
Looking to influence behavior or raise awareness about an issue to advance your conservation efforts? A new Strategic Communication Mentored Online Course can help you communicate effectively to reach your conservation goal! This three-week mentored training, which is only a 6-8 hour time commitment, features hands-on exercises, interactive webinars and quizzes, and guidance from mentors and other managers. We’ve demystified strategic communication and simplified the planning process so you can work on your own project as you learn. This course is free and open to anyone, but is geared toward coral reef managers and practitioners. The course content can be found in the communication module.
- December 18 – January 16: Course registration is open. Registration closes January 17
- January 16: Course orientation and introductory webinar (45 minutes)
- January 17 – January 24: Complete three self-paced lessons and worksheets on the communication planning process: establish your goal & objectives, assess the context for your efforts, and identify your target audience(s) (~2.5 hours)
- January 25: Webinar 2 – Review concepts and discussion (45 minutes)
- January 26 – February 7: Complete four self-paced lessons and worksheets on the communication planning process: make your message matter, identify messengers and tactics, measure your impact, and create a summary of your plan (~3.5 hours)
- February 8: Webinar 3 – Review concepts, discussion, and course conclusion (30 minutes)
This symposium was live streamed as part of the Coral Restoration Consortium webinar series in conjunction with The Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and “The Future Ocean” cluster in Kiel. Speakers shared information on new approaches for the conservation of coral reefs such as assisted colonization and assisted evolution and synthetic biology. View the presentation recordings below.
Welcome and introduction – Marlene Wall, Geomar, Germany
Session 1: Shifting paradigms in conservation: social, public and scientific landscape of conservation genetics
Objective: The aim of session 1 is to (i) discuss new approaches for the conservation of natural environments, such as assisted colonization, assisted evolution and synthetic biology and (ii) introduce the current legal, public and scientific framework of novel methods in conservation.
- A history of assisted colonization: IUCN Guidelines and the growing need to consider risky conservation translocation – Phil Seddon, University of Ottago, New Zealand
- The role of Synthetic Biology in conserving the new nature – Kent H. Redford, Archipelago Consulting, USA
- Coral reef restoration in a changing environment – Dirk Petersen, SECORE, Germany
Session 2: Assisted evolution in corals: Opportunities, applications, challenges, and limitations
Objective: The aim is to introduce how assisted evolution might change our way of restoring natural marine environments. What new tools are available that can improve the selection of environmental stress resistance and be implemented in conservation? What are the promises and perils of such approaches?
- Coral conservation genetics in a changing climate – Iliana Baums, Pennsylvania State University, USA
- How assisted evolution and synthetic biology can help address the coral reef crisis – Madeleine van Oppen, University of Melbourne/AIMS, Australia
- Assisting coral reef survival in the face of climate change – James Guest, Newcastle University, UK
- Discussion – Thorsten Reusch & Marlene Wall
December 7, 2017
This symposium was live streamed as part of the Coral Restoration Consortium webinar series in conjunction with The Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and “The Future Ocean” cluster. Speakers shared information on new approaches for the conservation of coral reefs such as assisted colonization and assisted evolution and synthetic biology. Explore and view the symposium presentations.
November 2, 2017
The exchange covered coral reef restoration projects in the Western Indian Ocean and Reef Resilience Network resources, including a new restoration module. Due to technical difficulties the workshop was not recorded, but view a summary report and presentation files on the Network Forum (note: you will need to log in). Need help logging in or registering? View instructions here.