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.

Hofagie Lam le : unite these islands/atoll 

Each year, OPOR invites high school & college -aged youth to apply for our unique in-person exploration of indigenous & western knowledge-systems for marine & cultural conservation.

The application cycle for our 2022 Hawaii Youth Action Program has closed. Please contact us if you’re interested in other opportunities to get involved with One People One Reef.

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.

YAP 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 Today, many of the traditional marine management systems have been eroded, or been replaced by more western management plans.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, we explore 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 brings together high school & college-age youth 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.

YAP 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

Participants will receive a certificate of participation from One People One Reef, which can be used as an ‘internship’ letter documenting their skills and achievements.


Leaders: John Rulmal Jr., Nicole Crane, Dr. Michelle Paddack

2023 Program Dates: TBA

Application Deadline: TBA


Students need to know how to swim and be proficient snorkelers. All in-water work uses only snorkel gear. Weather will determine the order and possibilities of our water activities. Prior to departure, students will receive a suggested packing list, relevant health & safety information, as well as reading material to prepare for their experience. This will include information relating to the history, culture, ecology, and social issues of Yap and Ulithi including, but not limited to marine debris, climate change, waste disposal, imported food and related health issues. 

How to apply:

The application period for the 2022 summer program has closed.

Please reach out to us at if you have any questions or comments about future programs.


Total Program Cost:

$100 Application Fee (nonrefundable)

$3,000 Program Fee**

**Program Fee does NOT include: airfare, evacuation insurance, snorkel mask/fins, tent, sleeping bag & pad

There are Three Fees associated with this program:

1. A $100 nonrefundable Application Fee is due with your Essay of Interest.

2. A $300 Program Deposit will reserve your spot in the program. If you are not accepted into the program, your deposit will be refunded.

3. A $2,700 Final Payment is due 60 days prior to the first day of the program.

Fees can be paid online through PayPal

Checks can be made payable to “One People One Reef” & mailed to:

4041 Soquel Drive Suite 302, Soquel CA 95073

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