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A Portrait of Volunteering: Environmental activism in Kenya

A Portrait of Volunteering:

Environmental Activism in Kenya

We all have the urge to help – especially when it comes to key issues like ecological balance and the environment. The question then becomes how. Not only do we need to know the issues but also who is effective and successful in their work. Not all groups and agencies are of equal standing.

Here we present a portrait of one young lady’s experience volunteering for “Local Ocean Conservation” in Kenya. Emily, of Harwood (MD), heard about it after the Schaefers, also of South County & part of the Renyoga community, traveled to Kenya a year earlier and gave her “an introduction” of sorts. Kindly read the following…

Emily’s Experience Volunteering

Emily T. writes:

I grew up on my family’s horse farm in Harwood and knew I wanted to do something to help then environment with community engagement.  When I was 19, I found out about Local Ocean Conservation (LOC) after meeting the son of one of the founders, who was visiting the United States and staying with the Schaefer family. (I was Morgan Schaefer’s baby sitter for years). I applied to be an intern, was accepted and I flew to Kenya to begin my one month service adventure in August of 2016.  LOC is located in a truly pristine part of the coast of East Africa, on the Indian Ocean. The mangrove forests are still intact and there are coral reefs. Something I thought was long destroyed around the world.  LOC does so many things, and it is and a welcome and beloved organization for all the local residents including fishermen.  Everyone is included.  These people have lived on this coast and co-habitated with whales, sharks, sea turtle and so many fish.  The whales and sea turtles are now endangered, but all of them, along with their habitat must be protected to preserve the biodiversity of this region.

My first impression and still a lasting one is how much this organization did with so little. Everything they had was viewed as a precious resource, and nothing was ever wasted.  They engage everyone from the local community while adhering to the highest scientific standards of data collection and recordation regarding the ecosystem and the turtles.  Perhaps even more importantly, the care they give to the turtles that have been rescued (often suffering from ingesting plastics and fishing lines) is incredibly compassionate. This is a committed and talented group of people. The month of August in 2016 involved my moving into a simple dorm provided by LOC.  Each day, I joined other volunteers from around the world, along with the full-time professional staff, in locating and monitoring sea turtle nests on the beaches, assisting the biologists who were caring for and rehabilitating the turtles that came into the center who had ingested plastics,  tending to young mangroves that the women in the local community were planting in an area to restore a mangrove forest, working with the person who ran the education outreach for school children, and so many other endeavours.    

Here is LOC’s website: https://localocean.co/

Releasing a Rehabilitated Turtle Back to the Sea

Stacy S. writes:

The diversity of their “all hands on deck” approach to saving not only the turtles but the entire ecosystem in the very special place in the world.

Here below, Morgan, then 10 years-old, gains first-hand experience in doing this important work under the care and guidance of LOC professionals in Kenya.

For more info visit: Local Ocean Conservation



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