Amaile village gets a coral garden
Amaile village in Aleipata will stand to benefit from a coral gardening project initiated by nonprofit organisation Artificial Reefs Samoa and Church College Pesega students.
Environmentalist Fonoti Ferron Fruean told the Samoa Observer he is taking schools to rural villages, in order for them to experience firsthand the community which he believes will also enable the youngsters to be taught how to care for marine life.
He said there is very little cost involved in his community-focused project and it is mainly driven by his passion for the conservation of marine life and restoring coral reefs.
"We are not getting money to do this, so whatever I can use from my business, I will to pay my staff and get the ball rolling," Fonoti told this newspaper.
"That is why I also like to have the media around because it is the only way to get the program to be noticed by people.
"Ideally, I hope to run these tours for tourists, but the students are also important because they are the ones who will take these from us."
Coral gardening, according to Fonoti, is a process and it starts with a nursery that is left for about two years and checked from time to time.
"You will find that just like plants, the coral grows and you will then need to transplant them."
The tour at Amaile Aleipata involved 40-plus geography students from the Church College Pesega, who were led by their teacher, Siliafai Chong Wong.
Fonoti said the students arrives late morning and underwent a briefing at the 'Maota i Leanapapa' before heading down to the Amaile beach.
"Fred Sotoni and Tony Tarcko were already prepping the substrates to attach the coral fragments onto the table nursery," Fonoti added. "Now we will leave the coral out there, and go back to check after some weeks."
The environmentalist also talked about his vision for the program and its wider benefits to tackle climate change and ensure resilience of coral reefs.
"I envision that this will be a popular activity given the dire need to protect our coral reefs, because the world knows about climate change and we need to build resilience of our coral reefs," Fonoti said.
"We are going towards ecotourism. People must become more concerned for the environment."
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