Monday, October 15, 2018

Mangrove Restoration Project

The earthquake in 2012 had fatal consequences for the Mangrove forest here in Avellanas, Guanacaste. The tectonic plate rose as much as 1.5 meters (5 feet) in some areas and closed the river mouth that flows through this mangrove forest. To grow and survive, the Mangrove forest needs salt and fresh water. The salt water comes in from the ocean with the tides and the freshwater comes from the rain and the river from inland. In this case, where the river mouth is closed, no sea water enters into the mangroves. The trees stood in the stagnant fresh water, it started poisoning the mangroves and the plants started to die. 

How it looks
How it should look

A project team opened the river mouth, so that the fresh water could flow into the sea and the sea water could get to the mangrove, but an unusually hot dry season came along. The rivers began to dry out and the mangroves did not have enough water. Many of the plants died during this time. 
The mangroves and the wetland are very important for the environment. The roots filter pollutants, like fertilizers and pesticides, out of the water. These substances can be toxic for the organisms out in the ocean. They also protect the coast from storms dampening the effects of wave. For many animals these mangroves and wetlands are important as a nursery. The flooded root system offers good hiding places for the young fish and they are protected there from bigger predators.  Birds, insects, reptiles and mammals live as well in this area and create a healthy ecosystem.  

Together with the project team from the La Laz Paz Community School we worked on our first day on a mangrove restoration project. Parents, other students and staff members from ConnectOcean and the project team met next to the dead mangroves. After an introduction, where a lot of information was shared, we split up in three different groups. The first team went out to the dead mangroves to plant over 100 seedlings that the to project team had already raised. 

The second team went out to the mangroves which are still alive to collect seeds. This team collect around 800 seeds in one hour. 

The third team started to prepare pots with mud, so that the seeds could get planted when the second team returns. 

We spent the whole morning to collecting seeds, preparing pots and planting the seeds and suspend the seedlings. But all this hard work was definitely worth it. 

In the end, 100 seedlings started hopefully to grow up in the area of the dead mangroves and in 6 Months, there will be over 800 more seedlings to transplant. It is a good start with around 900 plants; but the forest will need more time and work until it is restored. This is a great first step in the right direction!.


Welcoming New Divemaster Interns

We are welcoming two new Divemaster Candidates into the ConnectOcean Family! They will be here to complete their PADI training and expand their Professional Development Toolbox.


My name is Matthias Landis. I'm a swiss who was living in Zuerich. I'm 25 years old. I'm really excited to start my internship as a divemaster here in Costa Rica. ConnectOcean gave me the opportunity to start a life-changing adventure. For the past 10 years, I have been working as a chemist for the Food Control Authority of Zuerich and it has been very interesting. But i realized that I want to do something meaningful for our planet and something had to change in my life. Since I was a young boy, water has always been a point of interest. During my childhood, I spend the most of the time swimming in the lake near my house. I would like to learn mire about our nature and the aquatic life. And how I can protect them. 
I'm a active person, who likes to be on the move. I like hiking, ride bicycle and swimming. I like sport in general. After sport, I like to read a book or just relaxing and daydreaming. If I have time, I love to travel the world an discover new cutures, see wonderful landscapes and meet people from all over the world. I'm really happy to be part of the                                                                                                   ConnectOcean Family and very excited for the next six months.

My name is Anna, I'm 19 years old and from Stockholm, Sweden. I just graduated from High School and was looking for an adventure to fill my gap year with bevor continuing studying. I wanted to become a divemaster and experience diving and nature, and ConnectOcean caught my attention because they could offer that while being responsible and actively working with social and environmental contribute to the society. 
I grew up in a active family with Icelandic horses and a dog, spending a lot of time in nature and participating in activities such as hiking, horseback riding sailing and skiing. I think that's how i grew into becoming an adventurous girl who likes challenges and value taking care of our planet. I'm si excited to start my internship at ConnectOcean and see not only what adventures it might bring to me, but also how I hopefully develop as a person and might be able to contribute to something meaningful myself.