On Monday, June 3, 2019, five interns joined the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) 2019 Summer Internship Program. This six-week summer internship provides practical work experience in the field of marine science.

For this week, PICRC interns participated in a cultural immersion program to learn about Palau’s culture and traditions, as well as the cultural importance of marine resources in Palau. Additionally, they took part in agency visits to learn about the many conservation organizations and efforts in Palau.

Four of these students are Palauan college students: Masasinge T. Hideos, Maikani O. Andres, and Mira Eyangel Mariur from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Tristen Isaac from Palau Community College. PICRC also welcomes one international intern, joining the program from the United States: Katie McMahon from Central Michigan University.

For the cultural immersion, the interns learned about the significance of giant clams in Palauan culture. They visited the Belau National Museum to learn about the traditional and cultural uses of clams, which was followed by a trip to the Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center to learn about Palau’s clam hatchery, run by the Bureau of Marine Resources.

The hatchery manages these culturally important resources to reduce fishing pressures on Palau’s wild clam stocks. Additionally, the interns learned about the current research being conducted on clams by PICRC researchers, and visited the PICRC clam field site in Ebiil.

PICRC also organized five agency visits with the Protected Areas Network Fund (PAN-F), Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF), Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB), Division of Marine Law Enforcement (DMLE), and Palau Conservation Society (PCS).

These agency visits allowed the students to learn about different conservation organizations in Palau and provides them a chance to have meaningful interactions with local employees. These visits served as a way for the students to feel inspired by dynamic working environments and get a sense of the opportunities available in Palau.

The main hope for these visits is to encourage students to return to Palau upon graduating and contribute to conservation efforts here at home.

This Summer Internship will run until July 12th.  This year internship program is made possible with the financial support of Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated. (PR)