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Taking the road less traveled Spending a year in five continents to embrace my "inner turtle", to live simply, and to avoid being shark bait!

Save Koh Tao Conservation Group

THAILAND | Monday, 5 March 2012 | Views [426]

I learned about the Save Koh Tao conservation group through my flatmate at the "penthouse"; his dive shop was a participant of the group.  The first weekend I was in Koh Tao, it held its monthly ocean and land clean-up event, so I joined.  I had just finished my Open Water diver course and wasn't good enough to perform any work under water, so my work was on land only.  

This non-profit group was founded by an American ex-pat who noticed how fragile the Koh Tao environment was with the boom in tourism.  There was practically no conservation nor environmental issue education to the locals, so he wanted to build more awareness.  He lobbied several dive shops in Koh Tao to participate, and also received support from the Thai government.  I was in awe of the effort he put into the group.

Besides monthly clean-up events and public outreach programs, Save Koh Tao was also at the forefront of maintaining the Koh Tao dive environments and marine animals.  They have nurseries for giant clams and coral reefs, and transplant those into open water once they've matured.  Every year they would initiate a major project that benefited the diving community; past projects included constructing Buoyancy World, Biorock (an artificial coral reef off the coast of Koh Tao that has successfully nurtured new marine and coral environments while introducing a new dive site), and installing and repairing mooring buoys.  They also held annual community awareness events such as film festival and Earth Day festival, further educating the public and particularly at schools about environmental issues.  

It was too bad I didn't stay in Koh Tao long enough to dedicate more time to them.  The work they're doing are critical and beneficial not just to Koh Tao; they're also great models for other communities to learn from and imitate.  I'd love to return one day, after I have educated myself more on the environment and become a better diver, and contribute my time to their causes.  Feel free to check them out on Facebook!

Tags: buoyancy world, marine conservation, save koh tao

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