In July 2017 I'm planning on flying to Hoga Island, a remote, tropical island in Indonesia. It is in the middle of the coral triangle and the Wakatobi national park. I'll be working as a research assistant for a month, with no running water or air conditioning, living the traditional Indonesian lifestyle, but learning to dive and work in the field underwater too, collecting data for a various research projects.
Operation Wallacea, an organisation which carries out the conservation research in order to preserve our planet's biodiversity, requires £2500 to carry out research for a month for 1 person, which includes accommodation, meals, the cost of getting a PADI dive qualification and field equipment, but not flights, which will be an additional ~£850. These data and publications produced from the research here have been used to promote the biodiversity value of the Wakatobi, raise its profile internationally and in particular enable it to be designated as a Biosphere Reserve.
I am fundraising in other ways, but I would greatly appreciate any donations, big or small to allow me to go on this trip and try and make a difference in preserving these coral reefs, which are the most diverse on the planet!
Below I have copied my sponsorship support letter from Operation Walleacea to provide additional information, which is also included in the photo gallery. Thank you for reading my campaign!
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Volunteer ID: 194560 Name: Mia Georgiou Expedition: 13
This is to confirm that Mia has been accepted to join an Operation Wallacea expedition in 2017. Our volunteers are encouraged to fundraise to cover the costs of this expedition, which includes field support staff, local accommodation, food and transport costs, field equipment and flights. In order to raise sufficient funds they will be undertaking specific fundraising activities and any support or help you could offer would be extremely welcome.
Operation Wallacea is a biodiversity and conservation management research organisation running projects in Indonesia, Honduras, Cuba, South Africa, Madagascar, Transylvania, Croatia, Peru, Guyana, and Mexico. The research is carried out in conjunction with academics from many European and North American Universities with over 200 academic staff in the field each survey season. Whilst Operation Wallacea provides the research data the Operation Wallacea Trust (charity number 1078362) then uses this data to implement conservation management programmes.
Amongst the recent achievements of Operation Wallacea and the Operation Wallacea Trust are:
Used the existing data sets gathered from Honduras, Madagascar and South Africa to correlate species distributions with habitat and satellite derived environmental variables to then predict distributions across much larger areas. This collaboration is being carried out with the Oxford University Biodiversity Research Centre to then develop biodiversity performance criteria for the UN REDD scheme which is designed to make payments to governments and communities to prevent deforestation.
Discovered 30 new species of vertebrates to science and 3 species previously thought to have been extinct.
Funded 26 PhD studentships covering differing aspects of biodiversity and conservation management research.
Established marine research centres in each of the major oceans including one in the Indo-Pacific which is the most productive in terms of published research in SE Asia.
Introduced standardised stereo video monitoring of reef fish communities and video transects of benthic communities in marine sites in the Indo-Pacific, Indian and Caribbean Oceans.
Developed a sustainable reef fishery management project in Indonesia that is designed to work by buying out surplus fishing effort on the reefs by offering shares in a business in exchange for surrendering reef fishing licences. The business being developed to fund the buy outs is the extraction of carrageenan from the seaweed farming activities that already exist.
Packaged real-life data sets from Operation Wallacea expeditions for use in the classroom in order to develop understanding of biodiversity science issues amongst young people around the world. This project, called the Wallace Resource Library, is now in use in over 500 schools around the world.
It is only with the continued participation of students such as Mia that we will be able to develop and advance our work. Mia is being given a unique opportunity to take part in this experience of a lifetime whilst undertaking vital conservation work for Operation Wallacea and the local community and I can only ask once again that you would consider supporting such an important project. If you have any questions or queries about any aspect of Operation Wallacea and would like some additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at the Operation Wallacea office or check out our website at www.opwall.com.