Sea Turtle, Coconut Palm, & Coral illustrations by Charlotte Grenier, OPOR Team Graphic Designer

Micronesian Outer Islanders from the remote atolls of Yap & Chuuk in the western Pacific have sustainably managed their coastlines for centuries. Marine resources shape the cultural & social dynamics of these coastal communities. Their traditions & livelihoods are intimately linked to the health of the reefs that surround their islands.

In 2010, islanders recognized a decline in fish populations & reef health, in addition to a series of human health challenges. Rapid environmental and cultural changes threaten the present & future wellbeing of the reefs & the communities who rely on them. 

One People One Reef is a team of scientists & community leaders who came together to respond to the outer islanders’ call for assistance to promote reef resilience & food security. Our response was a revolutionary approach that lets communities lead through traditional management backed by modern science. 

We work closely with Bluecology, whose mission is to preserve marine wildlife and ecosystems through community-based programs which foster informed choices that will reduce adverse human impact on the marine environment.

Our Mission

  • To achieve effective and enduring protection of critical marine habitats and the people who rely on them.
  • To develop innovative & diverse partnerships that advance adaptive management and conservation in Micronesian outer islands.
  • To develop local capacity through a unique collaborative approach that integrates traditional knowledge and management practices with modern science and technology. 

Explore our website to learn more about our program’s history, approach, and what makes us unique. 

For more opportunities to support, collaborate and get involved, email us!

What We Do

Local Knowledge & Traditional Management

With support from:

Oral storytelling is the traditional means for passing down knowledge from generation to generation. As young people now attend Western style schools, often on different islands, they are no longer learning alongside their elders and hearing these stories, and this disconnect is contributing to the breakdown of traditional management. With a National Geographic Society grant we have begun a Storytelling Project, with participants in the Ulithi Youth Action Project listening to, recording, transcribing and translating some of the foundational stories of their culture, upon which their resource management framework is built.

This work has resulted in a collection of seven Ulithian stories with English translations. A new story was written that weaves together elements found within the seven Ulithian stories with contemporary lessons about the value of traditional management rules and coral reef science. These stories are presented in audio (original live recordings and english translations) and a written booklet. Both the audio and written components are include on our Storytelling Project website.

Yangdidi, pronounced “yang-thi-thi“, is a Ulithian word that means “Wind Force.” The force of Maysak’s winds quite literally shaped the future of people in Ulithi. This project was created to give survivors a platform to share their own stories (in their own words) of the process of coming together to rebuild. Each interview is approved by the interview participant, and copies are provided to the communities in Ulithi. Eventually, the interviews will be combined into a feature-length documentary.