The outreach team from the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) travelled to Kayangel State inNovember to present a program to the community and elementary school there. In total, 35 people attended the community session—a relatively large number for the small state. The visit to Kayangel State follows similar visits to Angaur State and Peleliu State, and highlights PICRC’s commitment to engage the smaller outlying states with its knowledge and research.
Research Director Geraldine Rengiil was the MC of the event, which including three presentations from PICRC staff.
Researcher Dawnette Olsudong talked about PICRC’s ongoing monitoring of Ngeruangel Marine Reserve in Kayangel. A baseline survey of the reserve was conducted in 2014, with follow up surveys in 2018, 2020, and 2022. The surveys looked at the natural resources within the two main habitats in the reserve and compared them with nearby, unprotected areas. Dawnette reported that the reserve appeared to be very effective at protecting fish, that the coral reefs were still recovering from previous typhoons that occurred 8 years ago, and that the protection did not appear to influence macro-invertebrates. She concluded that the researchers would continue to survey the reserve over time and provide recommendations to improve its management.
Outreach and education officer Masasinge Tellei Hideos discussed the research, outreach, and education efforts surrounding the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS). From the education side, he talked about the talk shows, press releases, and social media outreach, and from the research side, he described the research to determine biodiversity in the PNMS using eDNA, tuna reproduction, and using deep-sea drop camera to look at life on the bottom of the deep ocean.
Researcher Elsei Tellei presented the results of a pilot study, which looked at how people living in Airai saw the benefits and value of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. The main takeaways from this study were that most people supported the PNMS, although they didn’t completely understand it, and that increased outreach was needed to help residents better understand the PNMS, which may help them access its immediate benefits. PICRC researchers now plan to conduct similar surveys in the other states.
Finally, Lazarus Meyar was presented with PICRC’s 2022 Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. Environmental Award for his lifelong commitment to conservation and management of Kayangel’s precious marine resources.
“It was great to have such a large audience attend the Kayangel community event,” said Research Director Geraldine Rengiil. “We will continue our efforts in bringing PICRC’s programs to places like Kayangel that are far from PICRC’s facilities in Koror.”