Reef rangers

C3 is proud of its success engaging youth worldwide in grassroots environmental action. All our youth groups including the Junior Ecoguards of the Comoros islands, Scouts of northern Madagascar and now the Reef Rangers of Fiji, have been recognised internationally by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as exemplary young leaders in conservation.

On remote Kia island in Fiji, all schoolchildren become members of C3‘s Reef Rangers club where they learn about marine ecology, threats and conservation actions that their communities can initiate to sustain the very resources their lives depend on. After and introduction to the concepts of how living systems work, the children explore common Fijian marine habitats and the animals and plants that interact within them. Conservation concerns are discussed, particularly local issues including littering, reef damage, overfishing, coastal deforestation, and threatened species.

Reef Ranger lessons feature a variety of interactive and engaging learning tools in addition to classroom sessions to drive their conservation messages home. Using arts and crafts the children can harness their creativity in a fun and educational way to show what they have learnt. They especially enjoy field trips including beach cleanups and coastal reforestation at each of Kia Island’s three villages, as well as mangrove replanting in the nursery at Yalava Bay and coastal plant identification.

C3 also plans to extend the reach of the Reef Rangers project to include schools on the mainland in Vanua Levu. C3‘s Maleli Qera, an education expert known affectionately by the locals as Male, says,

“These young children on Kia are very lucky to have such an eye-opening experience, especially for an isolated community”.

He was pleasantly surprised to see how children of all ages have responded so well to what they have learnt so far.

“I strongly believe the work we are doing is worthwhile and these kids will grow up to be instruments of conservation. Our initial objective for starting Reef Rangers was that children are the best audience for our work, because the knowledge they have learnt will be instilled in them throughout their lives and they will become conservationists themselves!”

The Reef Rangers also play a major role in the organisation of the island’s annual Ecofestival.

Reef rangers