Coral reefs around Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, are under serious threats from overfishing, destructive fishing practices, pollution, and sedimentation. There is an urgent need to create public awareness of how important it is to sustainably manage these precious resources.
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a financially self-sustaining conservation initiative in Zanzibar that established and manages the first private marine park in the world. Working with the Ministry of Education and local schools, the coral park offers one-day school excursions to Chumbe Island. These trips give schoolchildren hands-on environmental education and help teachers conduct field-based environmental education. In 2006, an in-school, pre-excursion study program was added to prepare students for their visit. The Chumbe Challenge Environment Award, begun in 2007, involves 15 schools.
In recent years, the program has expanded tremendously. This has expanded environmental awareness–and increased the wear and tear on equipment. To improve the quality and safety of school field trips to the coral park, Seacology is funding the purchase of high-quality life jackets, reef shoes, and snorkeling gear.