Reconnecting People & Nature this Science Sunday!

How do you feel after you go for a hike or snorkeling at the beach?  Don’t you just feel calm, relaxed, stress-free.  It’s that positive, serene energy that we feel when we’re experiencing (and appreciating) nature.  Now, expand on that thought..

What motivates us to volunteer to plant trees?  Or to join the Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program to collect data on reef flat health?  Or just to do anything knowing that it will help our natural environment? That drive to “do something” seems natural.  Of course, the world is more beautiful with lush vegetation and amazing coral reefs, but ultimately our life depends on these natural resources.

It’s all about reconnecting people and nature this Sunday.  Guest speaker Romina King will share her thesis that examined communities’ attitudes, knowledge, and perceptions of their watershed.  Conservation and natural resource management isn’t just about protecting animals in this or that ecosystem.  The bottom line is that it’s about PEOPLE and their well-being, long-term. Sometimes the connection between natural resource management and community needs are blurry or confusing.  But the more we “connect the dots” between human benefits and natural resource management efforts, coastal management can be more effective to ensure communities’ are prepared for long-term challenges, like climate change.  It will lead to more public awareness, understand, support, and even more active community participation that will help make Guam’s people mature and grow as the natural stewards of our environment.

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March Madness

Time flies when you’re having fun!  It’s almost the end of March!   Even though the early months of 2014 were met with rough marine conditions, we still hosted classroom training sessions and also Science Sunday talks.  And we’re really excited progress made with various school groups we’ve partnered with that want to monitor coral reefs around Guam.

Local scientist Anna Simeon  brought in live algae specimens for the audience to see in March
Local scientist Anna Simeon brought in live algae specimens for the audience to see in March

St. John’s marine biology students will begin monitoring Tumon Bay.  GCCRMP staff met with St. John’s students to help develop their hypotheses in order to figure where to set up their monitoring site.  Students collectively decided they wanted to investigate the difference in coral and macroinvertebrate communities near fresh water seeps.  At our next session, we met at a beach in Tumon to locate fresh water seeps and mark our location using a GPS unit.  Students also noted features near fresh water seeps.  Next step, we will help set up St. Johns monitoring site so that we can begin data collection.  With summer approaching, we can expect calmer marine conditions.  Hooray!

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Val Brown, Science Coordinator, shows map of Tumon Bay during site selection process with St. Johns students

We’ve also been working with Guam’s college students from Guam Community College (GCC).  GCC marine biology students and environmental club Eco-Warriors (and some family members too!) selected coral reef monitoring for their service learning project.    GCC students did in-water training and recently collected data at Pago Bay.  They will be comparing two different sea grass habitats in Pago Bay and another area in southern Guam by analyzing data collected on benthic cover and macroinvertebrate surveys.

Looking for macroinvertebrates!
Looking for macroinvertebrates!

We will be doing data collection this Saturday, March 29, from 9 -11am at Tepungan Beach Park.  So if you have completed Classroom and In-Water Training, then you can participate!  If it’s been a while, don’t worry! We always do a recap on methods before heading out to the water.  If you want to become a member of the GCCRMP team, email gureefmonitoring@gmail.com or call Marybelle Quinata, the program coordinator, at 646-1905 for more information.