Thanks to three new Seacology projects in the Dominican Republic, visitors now have the chance to kayak through a beautiful lagoon, see fantastic bird life, or stroll on a boardwalk through a mangrove forest. And local youth are finding new, sustainable livelihoods by guiding tourists.

In January, Seacology leaders met with our partners in the DR to officially launch these projects and honor our latest Seacology Prize winner, environmental leader Patricia Lamelas of the DR. At a well-attended reception in Santo Domingo, we introduced each project with a video produced by local filmmaker Ariel Contreras.

All three projects—at Montecristi Province, Las Garitas, and Oviedo Lagoon—focus on protecting key areas of the country’s quickly disappearing mangrove forests. We are partnering with local NGOs, CEBSE, AgroFrontera, and Grupo Jaragua, employing various strategies to protect mangrove habitats. These include bolstering the ability of rangers to monitor protected areas to deter poaching and logging, training local people to work in ecotourism to relieve pressure from overfishing, and developing eco-sensitive trails to foster appreciation for the wildlife that flourishes in the mangroves.

The organization Patricia Lamelas leads, CEBSE, is a partner in the Las Garitas project. Before the Santo Domingo event, CESBE staff led a tour of the Seacology-funded mangrove boardwalk for a large group of local community members and students.

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