SAMOA, Falealupo Village, Savai'i Island - 1993
Falealupo Rainforest School and Preserve
(Samoa, Falealupo 2002 project page)
An excellent example of Seacology's win-win strategy is the successful effort to save an endangered rainforest near the village of Falealupo, Samoa. The Samoan government told this remote village that if they did not build a better school, teachers would be removed and their children would not be educated. Having no other source of revenue, the villagers sold logging rights to their rainforests. Before this could happen, however, Seacology co-founder and chairman Paul Cox discovered that the pristine rainforests surrounding the village of Falealupo, Samoa were to be logged. Cox worked with the village chiefs and promised to raise the funds for the school in exchange for a covenant protecting the 30,000 acre rainforest. The Falealupo Rainforest School was constructed, and since that time Seacology has had a close relationship with the village. In recognition of this achievement, in 1997 Cox together with the late High Chief Fuiono Senio won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Shortly thereafter, a permanent endowment was created for the Falealupo Rainforest Preserve, using Cox's Prize stipend and matching donations from Nu Skin International and Nature's Way. Also in 1997 the Falealupo Rainforest Canopy Aerial Walkway was dedicated. Seacology funded the walkway in order to help the community generate revenues from eco-tourism. At the ceremony dedication, it was announced that the village would extend the 50-year covenant and promised to protect the rainforest in perpetuity. In 1999, the village announced that beginning January 1, 2000 monthly tourist revenues from the aerial canopy walkway will be used to fund a modest retirement fund for village elders.