Micronesia Challenge Momentum: Conservation Practitioners Finalize Campaign Plans in Support of Island Conservation

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(Tamuning, Guam)- Rare Conservation, along with partners from across the five Micronesian jurisdictions, completed a week long intensive workshop on marketing conservation this past week at Hotel Santa Fe. This workshop is part of a two-year conservation management training program, under the framework of the Micronesia Challenge, designed and run by Virginia-based international conservation organization called Rare.

Matthew Lutkenhouse, Regional Director for the Micronesian Program, described the challenges and rewards of the comprehensive two-year partnership as “the program brings together conservation practitioners from all five jurisdictions of the Micronesia Challenge in a unified effort to build grassroots support for ridge to reef conservation to protect the unique natural cultural heritage of the region for future generations.  Via an intensive effort to understand the motivations of individuals within targeted communities—each campaign manager will be leading local campaigns to raise awareness of the connection between natural resource management and livelihoods and how making needed changes today will protect a way of life and livelihood for future generations.”

Eleven conservation managers from Palau, CNMI, Guam, FSM, and the Marshall Islands began their training one year ago in Koror, Palau and have continued to build strong bonds as they learn more about conservation management theory and social marketing in anticipation of launching their respective campaigns this fall around coral reef conservation and watershed management.  While Rare sources solutions, it does not directly implement outreach at the local level. Effective community outreach and mobilization requires a nuanced understanding of social and cultural norms and trusted messengers from within each community. Rare trains’ local partners and supports them during all stages of implementing what’s known as a “Pride Campaign.”

A Pride Campaign inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique, while also giving them alternatives to environmentally destructive behaviors.  “Rare connects positive solutions” said Jane Dia from Guam “to local communities to meet future needs.”  Rare previously worked with the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Resources on the Ko’Ko’ bird Campaign in 2009, which has gone on to successfully introduce the endemic rail back into the wild under the guidance of wildlife biologist and former Rare conservation manager, Cheryl Calaustro.

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About Rare Micronesia Program

Rare has partnered with the Micronesia Conservation Trust to launch the Program for Island Resilience in Micronesia, designed to increase capacity of regional conservation leaders, mobilize community support for natural resource management, and conserve the biodiversity upon which all Micronesians depend.  The Program for Island Resilience in Micronesia includes targeted Rare Pride campaigns at 11 sites, seven of which focus on reducing poaching at key marine protected areas and four of which focus on erosion control in key watersheds.

For additional information contact Sr. Program Manager Cristina Canlas, P.O. Box K3173, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM, ccanlas@rareconservation.org, (691) 924-6865