Conservation benefit: Falealupo Rainforest Preserve
Community benefit: New school building and aerial walkway
This was Seacology’s first project, and an excellent example of our win-win strategy: A rainforet was saved; a school was built.
It all started when the government of Samoa told the remote village of Falealupo 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 any trees were felled, however, Seacology cofounder and chairman Paul Cox discovered that the pristine rainforests surrounding Falealupo 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 built, and since that time Seacology has had a close relationship with the village.
In recognition of this achievement, in 1997 Cox and the late High Chief Fuiono Senio received 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, Seacology funded the Falealupo Rainforest Canopy Aerial Walkway to help the community generate revenue from ecotourism. At the dedication ceremony, village leaders announced they would extend the 50-year covenant and protect the rainforest in perpetuity. Since January 1, 2000, tourist revenue from the aerial canopy walkway have been used to fund a modest retirement fund for village elders.Full or partial funding for this project provided by