Moorea is a high volcanic island in the Society Islands group of French Polynesia. The island is 84 square miles and has a population of about 16,000. In the last 20 years population pressure has resulted in over-fishing of the nearshore waters. The U.C. Berkeley Gump Research Station on Moorea works with a local NGO, Te Pu Atitia, on conservation programs based on the combination of traditional knowledge and modern science.
In 2008, Seacology funded construction of the Atitia Center, a traditionally constructed community center to foster education programs focusing on traditional knowledge, science and conservation. Seacology is funding a dormitory on the Atitia Center grounds to house children from the outer islands, as well as be used for vacation “camps” where children have access to intensive educational programs regarding biodiversity and culture. The structure is basic — two large rooms with bunk beds and toilets/washrooms, and will be built in the traditional style to match other structures at the center.
A few highlights from the June 2014 opening ceremony of the facility.