Island Conservation deepens our commitment to on-island, in-country, community-based conservation.
Island Conservation is excited to welcome Joyce Beouch to the team as the new Palau Program Manager. Joyce comes to Island Conservation from Palau Conservation Society (PCS), the leading non-profit conservation organization within Palau, an archipelago of over 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
While working for PCS, Joyce established and coordinated the Belau Watershed Alliance, a legacy that is providing ongoing benefits to the community and natural heritage of Palau. The alliance was formed to protect, conserve, and restore the water resources of Belau through collaborative outreach, education, networking, science information sharing, and technical assistance by and for the communities of the island.
Joyce has extensive experience working with local communities to implement conservation projects. As part of her role as Program Manager, Joyce will be working with the local communities in Palau to help restore the islands’ ecosystems. We asked Joyce to share her perspective on her work and the importance of native and locally-based conservation leaders. Here is her response:
Why and how did you first become involved in conservation?
I’ve been involved in conservation all my life! Conservation is a core principle in the Palauan culture. Growing up, I recall my father telling me that every rock on the reef is somebody’s home, so when I disturb it, I need to put it back the way it was. I also remember my grandfather overseeing community fishing where he would measure catch and then stop the fishermen when they reached enough to feed the community. I recall elders asking young men who bring back too much catch, “Is there no tomorrow?”
In 2005, I was asked to document the establishment of Ebiil Society by a small group of fishermen from my father’s village of Ollei, a small village in Ngarchelong, Palau. I learned about a special marine area called Ebiil, a reef channel where most reef fish species aggregated to spawn. The fishermen discussed the need to establish a community organization to protect the channel and raise conservation awareness in their community. I joined the group and became a member of the Ebiil Society. Joining Palau Conservation Society and Babeldaob Watershed Alliance in 2008 reinforced my aspiration for conservation.
Today, what inspires you to protect the native species where you live?
My children and youth in general. I hope they are able to experience what I have experienced in my lifetime – a forest full of birds and a sea full of life!
What are you looking forward to in your new position with Island Conservation?
I am looking forward to communities rejoicing as a result of our work. Especially those who have been deprived of satisfactory livelihoods because of invasive species infestations.
Anything else you want to add?
The support I have received from all levels at Island Conservation has been wonderful!
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