2022 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.

Each summer the Youth Action Program brings together a dynamic team of college students, scientists & educators for an immersive cultural exchange to address conservation challenges & potential solutions.

In July 2022, six students from California joined six students from Ulithi in Kona, Hawaii to collaborate on community-based marine management projects with support & guidance from One People One Reef.

mai ka ʻāina a ke kai : from the land to the sea (Hawaiian)

Hofagie Lam le : unite these islands/atoll  (Ulithian – Federated States of Micronesia)

2022 Youth Action Program Description:

Pacific Island peoples recognize the critical link between land and sea, & the central role of cultural frameworks in maintaining community & environmental wellbeing. Today, many of the traditional marine management systems have been eroded, or been replaced by more western management plans. But in some islands (such as the Yap outer islands in the Federated States of Micronesia) traditional management remains largely intact.

In this unique program, situated on the Kona coast of Hawaii, we explored the intersections of indigenous management & western management, & the critical role that coral reef & coastal ecosystem management have in protecting endangered ecosystems & the people who rely on them.

This deeply immersive program brought youth together from Ulithi, Miloli’i, Hawaii, and mainland US to share knowledge, concerns & visions, & engage in scientific surveys of ocean & reef health to discover & build a path forward by combining the best of traditional & contemporary resource management.

2022 Youth Action Program Goals

  1. Learn about marine conservation and management and the myriad approaches
  2. Explore differences and similarities between traditional and more contemporary management practices
  3. Recognize and put into practice  the importance of local and indigenous knowledge in conservation planning, and ways to include multiple viewpoints and approaches to solve complex environmental problems 
  4. Conduct coral reef data collection (corals and fish)
  5. Apply data analysis in the context of conservation planning
  6. Co-create unique messaging platforms such as music, podcasts and videos targeted to youth

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.

Students learn about the central role of cultural frameworks in maintaining community & environmental wellbeing

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

Volcano National Park & Kula Kai Caverns

A group of participants attended the 2022 Goldschmidt Conference

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