Koror, Palau, Aug 3, 2020=- Friends of Palau National Marine Sanctuary and Sam’s Tours teamed up this summer to introduce young Palauans to scuba diving and Palau’s natural wonders above and below the water, preparing and inspiring them to explore Palau for years to come.

Thanks to the strong support of generous donors, the volunteer PADI Instructor Team from Sam’s Tours, and local businesses including Kramer’s, Elilai Restaurant and Palau Central Hotel, twenty four newly certified Palauan PADI Junior Open Water Divers from 10-18 years started and expanded their diving careers this summer.

This past week was the second part of the two-week program with the focus on continuing scuba diving skills development combined with environmental awareness programs. The new divers got to experience some of Palau’s most iconic dive sites and got to visit local institutions including Division of Marine Law with a tour of the Patrol Boat PSS Kedam and BIOTA Marine Life Nursery, to deepen their understanding of how Palau protects its marine environment and how the science of growing and transplanting coral may be a powerful tool for reef and resource restorations.

Together with the Friends of Palau National Marine Sanctuary, the Sam’s Tours Summer Camp 2020 focused on introducing young Palauans to the beauty and wonders of Palau’s terrestrial and marine eco-systems while inspiring and motivating them to take pride and responsibility in caring for them as Palau’s future stewards of the environment. The children also spent an afternoon cleaning up Ngereblobang beach gaining hands-on experience on the challenges worldwide plastic pollution poses to Palau.

Palau’s tourism industry and in particular scuba diving is a crucial contributor to our economy. The camp aimed to share the importance of planting the seed –“dolmii ra renguul a ngalk”– by continuing to educate and invest in our children through showing them firsthand, to grow up with a passion and understanding of Palau’s stunning natural resources.

These past weeks were the hopeful start of a movement to spark the awareness of the responsibility to sustain and secure Palau’s ecosystems and pristine beauty by our children. We could not be more proud of the bright young minds who participated. Their excitement and the joy they shared with us every day of the program proves the first successful step towards a bright and prosperous future.

“The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.” Palau Pledge

About the Friends of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary and Palau Pledge:Friends of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting and supporting the success of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, through the world first campaign the Palau Pledge. All visitors to Palau are asked to sign a personal promise to Palau’s children, stamped intheir passports at immigration to protect and preserve Palau for future generations. It also aims to have Palauans and residents follow suit by protecting the island for future generations.  Based on our tradition of the BULwhere it becomes everyone’s job to respect and protect our island home – the Pledge puts an onus on ‘responsible, sustainable tourism’ practices.  Sam’s Tours is Palau’s premier scuba diving and eco-adventure company.