September 12, 2007

Reef Check conducts EcoAction training course in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

By EcoAction Program Manager Cori Kane
We have just finished the Training of Trainers workshop for SPAW (Specially Protected Area and Wildlife) country participants in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic. Participants were brought in from Colombia, Panama, Aruba, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago through funds provided by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and completed a successful training for the tropical EcoAction program. The training went extraordinarily well and with all of the participants being experienced divers, we were able to complete the in-water portion of the training earlier than expected, allowing us to conduct one full monitoring survey to increase the Dominican Republic’s survey database. 
All of the participants are eager to get the EcoAction program up and running in their designated countries. The participants from St. Maarten and Aruba are already affiliated with dive shops and have stated their excitement in bringing the new programs and materials back to their shops to market and sell. Our participant from Tobago is currently in charge of the field operations for the Coral Cay Conservation site has agreed to integrate the new Reef Check training materials and modules into their core monitoring program. Since we have not had a large active Reef Check presence in Panama or Colombia for several years, this training has been instrumental in attracting new and excited people from these areas. As a result of this increased awareness, we should be able to start collecting data and increase the Reef Check and EcoAction program presence in these two areas.
As an added bonus to the training, Dr. Ruben Torres, Director of RC Dominican Republic, had made contact with a Brazilian travel writer who is going to write a feature article on this training for her diving magazine. This training has also secured Reef Check’s EcoAction program a feature spot in Dive Training magazine next year, which should enhance our visibility for the program in the Caribbean. All in all, a very successful training!
We would like to thank all of the participants and the RC DR team for their active participation and for making this one of the most fun trainings so far this year! Let’s keep up the great work!