As part of their CEPF-funded project "Sharing the knowledge: Supporting the Tetepare Descendants' Association's Emergence as a leader in peer-to-peer learning", the Tetepare Descendants' Association (TDA) conducted an integrated look and learn programme on Tetepare Island during September and October 2015.
Look and Learn Trainee rangers from neighbouring villages and islands traveled to Tetepare where they would "look" at and "learn" from the conservation and management activities carried out by staff at Tetepare.
Trainees were trained by experienced local TDA staff and expatriate scientists Dr Katherine Moseby, Dr John Read and Dr Damon Oliver in a variety of skills . They learned about monitoring techniques for coconut crabs, seagrasses and giant clams: skills that will enable TDA staff and Trainees to manage populations of these species and resources for future generations. Trainees were also taught about the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) – an important tool for research, monitoring and enforcement. They were able to practise marking locations and recording locations of established coconut crab and seagrass transects.
There is a long established mistnetting and banding program for birds on Tetepare, and Trainees were shown by visiting scientist Dr Read how to set up and extract birds from mistnets. Captured birds were fitted with unique combination of coloured bands on their legs and trainees were shown how to recognise banded birds that were flying around the Tetepare Field station. Trainees were then trained by Dr Read and Dr Oliver in how to recognise common bird calls and use of binoculars. Trainees were shown how to use camera traps for capturing images of rare, shy or nocturnal animals, and also for monitoring human activity.
Patrolling the Tetepare Marine Protected Area and enforcing TDA rules is probably the most important ranger activity on Tetepare. Trainees participated in a full island patrol, led by Senior Ranger Hanakolo Suka, where they called in on harvester camps and compiled a list of resources that had been harvested. Key species like coconut crabs and trochus shells were measured to ensure that their sizes complied with national laws. Trainees were shown how to record the number and location of harvested resources, so as to determine sustainable harvest limits. Both trainees and local TDA staff were instructed in how to enter data onto a computer and conduct basic data analysis. Results were discussed by participants in the context of management of marine and terrestrial resources.
By conducting these activities, the TDA is working towards its goal of establishing Tetepare as a leading provider of skills for community-driven and owned conservation initiatives in Solomon Islands and the wider Melanesian region.
Further information can be found on Tetepare’s website.