Mangroves! At first I came here because of, you can imagine, the sharks.
I read many things about the mangroves on the projects-abroad webpage, but I didn't realize that they are so important for the sharks and especially for our environment!
But then I saw so many mangroves when I rode the bus from Nadi to Pacific Harbour and the huge mangrove nursery next to our apartments and thought: "Okay... this must be a big thing in this project..."
And so it is.
Every (mangrove)-Monday a few volunteers go out and carry out some form of mangrove activity. Whether it’s building a nursery, collecting mangroves from the forest, planting mangroves in the wild or planting mangroves in the nursery.
Our red mangroves love the environment on the beach of a river near to the sea.
Red Mangroves? I will explain this to you.
There are three different types of mangroves. Red, black and white mangroves. And all are different and tolerate different levels of salt in the water.
The white mangroves tolerate the least amount salt of these three types. Mostly you can see it on beaches (land) next to the ocean.
A little bit further in the water, you can find the black mangroves. They like the salt and the fresh water.
And then there are our favourites: The red mangroves! We plant them on the tidal flats of beaches as they have the highest tolerance level to salt water.
Now you may ask why they are so important for the sharks. Well, that's easy.
The pregnant sharks (sicklefin lemons, scalloped hammerhead, bulls...) are giving birth in the rivers and the juveniles are growing between the roots and get safety from them. This the reason we try to catch and tag some of sharks next to the mangroves in the river, because it's like a "shark-nursery" between the roots! After a few months the little sharks head off to the ocean and start the life out in the blue.
Summarized you can say, mangroves are the home and the kindergarten for the baby sharks.
I learned so much about mangroves on this project, especially in the workshops. You will love the work with mangroves even if it's the dirtiest and most exhausting day in the week but it's worth it.
After you've planted nearly 200 mangroves in the mud and can't see your feet anymore, you’ll feel amazing knowing you just built a home for the sharks and did something very important for the environment. Come back after 5 to 10 years and you can see a little mangrove forest and can tell yourself: "Yep!! That was me! Good job!" ;)
Great feeling! Great plants!