2019 Youth Action Program

YAP inspires, educates, & builds confidence in the next generation of stewards through mentorship & exposure to traditional & contemporary field science.

In 2015, the Youth Action Program (YAP) was developed by OPOR, in collaboration with Bluecology,  as a response to the community view that youth education is at the forefront of sustainable ocean management.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Ulithi Youth Action Program Scholarship Fund. Established in 2018, this fund provides financial assistance to the next generation of ocean conservation leaders.

Program Goals

  1. Learn about ecological resilience, cultural integrity and traditional environmental sustainability
  2. Gain first-hand experience with coral reef monitoring and research in this remote archipelago.
  3. Interact with Ulithi youth and community leaders to develop relevant ocean  education materials, and ideas for youth plans for conservation management.
  4. Learn about local customs and traditions
  5. Assist with community activities such as marine debris monitoring, cataloging and clean up, and taro farm weeding and planting
  6. Gather baseline data and learn how to conduct monitoring of sea turtles
  7. Enjoy snorkeling, local music, and island activities

2019 Youth Action Program Description

Students conducted reef surveys; learned about sea turtle monitoring; helped create an educational program to teach local children about coral reefs; conducted beach surveys and cataloged marine debris; and helped develop ideas for an action plan for the next steps of sustainable development.

With the guidance of program leaders, community leaders, & Ulithian youth, students experienced living and working within a different culture, and learned the importance of traditional knowledge and management techniques.

Students used scientific methods to collect data in the field, and explored how modern science and technology can be combined with traditional techniques to support marine management planning by small coastal communities who rely heavily on marine resources. Students also explore the role these resources play in shaping cultural and social dynamics.

Milo Tasopulu (left) and Clancy Taigumal (right) participated in our first Youth Action Program. Today, they are invaluable youth leaders and local scientists. YAP participants from Ulithi & California have pursued further education in marine biology & environmental science so that they can return knowledge to their community.

Students learn about different sampling methods & how to conduct reef surveys in addition to attending lectures about coral reef ecology.

Students learn about global issues such as climate change, the impact plastic pollution has on  Ulithi, and the ways in which One People One Reef is helping the community adapt.

Students learn about traditional Ulithian coral reef and fisheries management and participate in community service activities.

Student Testimonials

We are small islands making our voice heard. We can see that people are reacting to our message. I think I have contributed to expanding the knowledge of Ulithi to the rest of the world, so the world will know and remember Ulithi. Then, when they make decisions globally, they will consider our small island.

– Ulithian Student

Ulithi has a magical ocean, and a wonderful community, and the project is inspiring in its goals and its approach. I hope to be back, soon and often, and to continue working with One People One Reef.

– Californian Student

One accomplishment that I think of is the importance of sharing the knowledge and experiences of how we manage and the conserve the nature through science and traditional practices with the help of some of our scientist friends who care about us and volunteer their time, effort, and support to travel from far away places to come to our small islands.

– Ulithian Student

I learned way more applicable skills than I could ever learn in a classroom. Being in the field with our group of impressive scientists was a tremendous honor and amazing learning experience.

–Californian student

Being in the field with scientists was a tremendous honor and an amazing learning experience…in the field of marine science. It was physically hard work and psychologically intense, but amazingly rewarding and fun.

– Ulithian Student

On our expedition to Ulithi Atoll, I learned more applicable skills than I could ever learn in a classroom. This is the type of learning experience that can only be attained by doing — and I can think of no better place to achieve that than on this expedition.

– Californian Student

The message that will stay with me for years to come is to value nature and what it has given us to live on…The life in the water depends on the land and so does the land depend on the water

– Ulithian Student

I am honored to go to a place that is so magical, and welcoming. I could not say enough good things about this trip or my experience. It truly changed my life and my perspective on the world.

– Californian Student