Leanne Hassell - Education Officer - The Philippines
After being at the Coral Cay site in the Philippines I want to share with you the experiences, emotions, happiness and friendships that I made during my time there. It will hopefully show you a bit about nine of the most amazing months of my life.
After arriving at the project site I started the Skills Development Programme, where I learnt how to identify around 250 different species of coral, invertebrates and fish, I also learnt how to complete baseline surveys. Along with the coral, invertebrate and fish we also recorded details of the bottom composition, current direction, visibility, impacts (litter, sedimentation etc) and mega fauna (large pelagic animals like turtles and whale sharks). During my time there I completed 52 baseline surveys and helped train many volunteers on how to complete these surveys and compile and enter the data.
After three months as a volunteer I became the Education Officer for the site. This increased my responsibilities and gave me the opportunity to work within the local community. I was responsible for organising open days, conducting the education programme within local schools and universities and working with the education department of the local and regional area. This was originally a four month contract which I ended up extending to a full six month contract.
It wasn’t all work, work, work though and I made some great friendships. The local staff that I worked, and developed close friendships with were
amazing and my experience would not have been the same without their happiness, warmth and humor.