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Climate Change Planning in Micronesia June 25, 2012

Posted by katecrosman in Individual Fellowship, Micronesia.
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Kate Crosman

I applied for the International Institute Individual Fellowship because I had the opportunity to intern on Falalop Island, Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia, with the Oceanic Society. Oceanic, a conservation NGO out of San Francisco, was invited to Falalop by the local chiefs to help design a locally implementable climate and fisheries adaptation plan. The community on Ulithi relies on taro patches and traditional coral reef fisheries for their food, but climate change is causing taro patches to become saline and reef fish populations to decline. They recognized that in order to maintain their traditional lifestyle, they needed to change the way they use their resources – and that they didn’t have the expertise to do it without help.

Oceanic is creating a plan, and providing needed training, to allow the islanders to monitor their own fisheries and adapt to climate change and its associated challenges. My role is to work with community members to better understand the fishery – what is caught, and when – and to work with Oceanic scientists to monitor the reef and local fish populations. Once the plan is in place, we will build local capacity for its implementation and adaptation. Through this work I hope to help this community fill their self-identified need and gain the skills necessary to manage their fisheries sustainably. I hope also to gain experience and hone my collaboration and outreach skills, so that I can continue to help communities, especially in the developing world, identify their conservation priorities and gain the tools they need to manage their own resources sustainably.

Kate participating in a sea otter field study with the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The funds provided by the International Institute Individual Fellowship cover my travel expenses and much of my living costs. Without the support of the International Institute, I would not be able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to help those in need and grow both personally and professionally.

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