Ulithi Youth Action Project

The Ulithi Youth Action Project was created in response to community’s view that  an education focus  on sustainable ocean management  should include their youth.  In partnership  with Bluecology,  the Youth Action Project was developed in 2015 and the first youth team arrived shortly after Typhoon Maysak hit the Ulithi Atoll.

Each summer we bring a dynamic team of students, educators, and adventurers with us to Ulithi. We work together to assist community leaders, local students and the One People One Reef team with the development of an action plan for youth leadership.

You can learn more about the project and how you can join us in June 2018 at Bluecology’s website!

Check out the bios of our Previous Participant’s Bios here.

Marine Science

Students learn about reef surveys and sampling methods while collecting data for One People One Reef. They also attend lectures on coral reef ecology, and learn through discussions about what they have seen on the reef.

Activities in 2017 included:

  • Mapping the percent cover and the spread of a “weedy” species of coral, Montipora sp. that overgrows other corals. The objective is to track Montipora’s spread over time.
  • Surveying sea cucumber densities on three islands to gather baseline data of a species that serves as indicators of reef health.
  • Sampling sea cucumbers for use in a genetic connectivity study that will help inform management planning.
  • Sampling Zebrasoma fish for another population genetic analysis, a task that was aided by the Ulithian students’ spearfishing skills.
  • Visits to reefs on both inhabited and uninhabited islands to illustrate the impact of human activities on coral cover, coral diversity and fish abundance.
  • Students taught visiting students how to conduct monitoring of nesting sea turtles
  • Tagging five sea turtles and photographed the faces three of them for a photo identification pilot project

Global Issues, Local Impacts

Students learn how global issues such as climate change and plastic pollution are impacting Ulithi, learn how the One People One Reef Program is helping the community adapt, and consider what contributions they might make to help.

Activities in 2017 included:

  • Conducting a NOAA Marine Debris Shoreline Survey. The group collected and categorized more than 1,000 items, including various plastic containers, rubber flip-flops and pieces of metal from a 100m stretch of beach. The survey was added to NOAA’s global marine debris database
  • Brainstorming solutions for dealing with plastic trash on the islands.
  • Learning about the impacts of the 2015 Typhoon Maysak on Ulithi

Community Service & Traditional Cultural Practices

Students learn about the contribution of traditional ecological knowledge to coral reef and fisheries management. They also learn about Ulithian culture, a community that relies on people helping one another. Students aren’t just observers, they participate in community service activities during the youth project.

Activities in 2017 included:

  • Working on a taro patch on Falalop
  • Weeding/beautifying Asor island in preparation for the opening of its new church
  • Cleaning up trash in Falalop village

Developing Future Leaders

The One People One Reef: Youth Action Project is a powerful method for developing future leaders. A previous participant, Mylow Tasopolu, joined the science team in 2017 on their expedition to take the One People One Reef program beyond Ulithi and across Yap State. He then co-led the Youth Action Project back on Ulithi. Other Ulithian students from the youth project have been inspired to plan on studying marine biology so they can return knowledge to their community. A number of the students from California are pursuing further studies in marine biology and environmental science, and are finding ways to contribute to One People One Reef going forward.