Mid Project Report: State of Affairs.

Italian: Arriving in a foreign country where they speak a totally different language from what you are used to can be intimidating to most people. However, us M.A.R.E. volunteers took it in our stride, and after 1 month of intense Italian lessons at Sant ’Anna institute for languages in Sorrento, we have continuously improved our Italian. Through friends, work and living in Massa Lubrense interacting with the local people, whether it’s just buying grocieries or trying to figure out if you’ve missed one of the few busses…

Environmental education: Informing and teaching people about the marine park and environmental aspects of it is, as mentioned previously, a substantial part of the project. Now project M.A.R.E. has a public presence in the Bay of Ieranto on the sea and on land. We are also running an environmental education program for kids called “A sea to explore”, which aim is to educate them about local and broad issues regarding the sea. Now, after getting to know the park even better, we also try to spread knowledge about marine biology in the park more specifically with regular presentations with target groups, followed by hands on snorkelling and observation methods. The message of the marine protected area is being promoted to everyone and everywhere we can have a presence at the moment.

Environmental monitoring: our presence on the sea in the bay of Ieranto is essential to keeping the state of place as pristine as we can. Seeing the place change from a near-empty remote bay in May to a busy trend-driven bathing area in August has been entertaining but also educating. Now, we fully appreciate the realisms of running a protected area. The amount of boats trying to enter the area has more than doubled in the past month. Having collected data and information from trespassing boats and people enjoying the place on land, it paints a clear picture of the dynamics of the area regarding public opinion.

Sea Turtles: We haven’t seen too much action turtle-wise over the past two months. However, we did play our part in the early part of the project helping and releasing turtles. Even though it has been some time, we still carry the experience close to our hearts, having had the privilege to handle this charismatic species. If we are needed, we are always on call, hoping we can help as much as possible to safeguard what we can of the species in Campania.

“Campo Boe”: Having initiated on the 15th of June, the activity is fully up and running. Similarly, to Ieranto Bay, seeing the place change from desolate to fully occupied also shows how important park activities are within the protected area. Henrik and Anis are seeing the brunt of the action, while also spreading awareness of the issues of the park by working closely with park officials handling tourists.

Currently, we volunteers see ourselves as a more of a family: we do a lot of things together, and help each other as much as possible. We work intensely while also trying to enjoy this experience as much as we can. This place no longer seems as strange as before, and we feel we are doing what we can to help run our bit of the park. The only thing that’s missing is learning Napolitano…