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Dominican Republic

Play for the Mangroves


Conservation benefit: Environmental education, protection and restoration of mangrove ecosystems

Community benefit: Sports equipment for underprivileged youth

Date Approved: 04.2021


This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

One of the main goals of our Dominican Republic National Mangrove Initiative is to make sure people know how important mangroves are in this island nation. We want to spread the word that without healthy mangroves, there will be more storm damage, fewer fish, and fewer tourists—not to mention that mangroves fight global warming by storing huge amounts of carbon.

Young people are the key to this effort. With them on board, the next generation of leaders will make smarter decisions, never forgetting how important mangrove ecosystems are.

In the sports-loving DR, we can’t think of a better way to engage youth than by pairing mangrove education with baseball and volleyball. Dominican baseball players—many of whom have starred in U.S. major leagues—are admired public figures. And the Dominican Women’s national volleyball team, the Queens of the Caribbean, makes headlines on the international sports stage, giving girls powerful role models.

However, many young people must play baseball with nothing more than rocks and sticks because they don’t have balls, bats, or mitts. Many girls with a passion for volleyball have no access to balls and nets. This project will change that, bringing more than just fun and physical activity. Studies show that girls and boys who play sports are healthier, have higher self-esteem, get better grades, and are less likely to engage in risky behavior.

Young people who receive sports equipment will get training in mangrove conservation from Seacology’s in-country partner, Grupo Jaragua. They will learn why coastal mangrove forests are crucial to the health and economic well-being of Dominican communities. They will also plant trees and help clean up coastlines—building skills and gaining pride in the process.

This project was generously funded by donors to our 2021 crowdfunding campaign.

Project Updates

May 2023

In what has become an annual tradition, a group of Seacology staff and supporters went to the DR in April to meet with project partners and communities. Play for the Mangroves activities are always a highlight! This year, one of our hardworking partner organizations, Foro Ambiental de Samaná, organized a “Run for the Mangroves.” It succeeded beyond our hopes–about 200 children and adults participated in the 3K and 5K events and received Play for the Mangrove hats and shirts, plus mangrove stickers, notebooks, and calendars. We hope to hold more fun runs in the DR and elsewhere.

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February 2023

Because of the COVID pandemic, 2022 was really the first full year of the program. Our team conducted activities all around the country every month, and reaching many more kids than we had expected. We continued relationships with youth sports clubs and developed new ones in over 20 communities. Almost 60 percent of participants were girls, which reflects our collaboration with the Dominican Volleyball Federation.

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August 2021

The equipment funded by our recent crowdfunding campaign has begun to arrive, and several groups of youth have participated in local mangrove cleanups and other activities.

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