Ia Ora Na
Summer weather is finally here in, with blustery squalls occasionally passing by on warm, balmy days. Last night a massive thunderstorm passed across the north end of the island. We had no rain on Onetahi but sat front row on an amazing lightning show that lit up sky, land, and lagoon. We feel very fortunate for these gifts from nature, and indeed this has been a year of generous giving. With covid finally behind us, our research teams came back in force this year, and our rat eradication program kicked back into gear and eliminated rats from all of the motu by early July. This was a gargantuan task that was taken on with great enthusiasm by our Island Conservation partners, our staff, and an army of workers and volunteers. As covered in our Nature Notes this month, the island ecosystems are already responding to the lack of predation after six months, and our Tetiaroa Atoll Restoration Program research teams are happily monitoring this recovery.
We are also very happy to welcome this year new research projects on deep sea fish (U. Victoria and U. Melbourne), and the effects of microplastic on corals (U. Washington). These researchers join our long-term teams doing green sea turtle monitoring (Te Mana o te Moana), mosquito control (Institute Louis Malarde), shark ecology and behavior (U. Washington), and archaeology (Australia National. U). In all this has been a very busy and productive year for research and conservation on Tetiaroa.
Our education program also came back to life this year and we have had some wonderful and engaging field courses from both local and international schools. UC Berkeley came this year with the first ever Island Sustainability program which was very successful and is already booked again for this coming January. Local schools once again brought students to learn about and be amazed by the natural and cultural heritage of Tetiaroa.
We have been very fortunate this year to continue and grow our close partnership with The Brando resort – exemplifying the best of what eco-tourism can be. The Brando family trust has also once again been true to its commitment to the island by generously supporting our work. And our local government, from the Mayor of Arue, to the Territorial Government (with a special shout out to the Minister of Environment and Culture) have been amazing partners in support of our work on Tetiaroa and the Blue Climate Initiative.
Lastly, we would like to thank all of you reading this last newsletter of 2022. Your support means that we can keep working to save Tetiaroa and save the world. We are looking forward to this coming year, to new challenges and new successes, and we hope to see you here.