Eco-Adventure at Kosrae Village

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Micronesia? A place far, far away. However, I consider it an ideal spot to travel to, to learn about other cultures, relax in a sustainable ecolodge, and volunteer to help marine research, if you're so inclined.  Yes, I have found a place that is very special, and would like to introduce our wandering educators to Kosrae Village, in Micronesia.   

Kosrae Village has had an impact on Kosrae Island, and the region in general, that is far out of proportion to its size.  “Tiny and tenacious”, Kosrae Village’s influence has been felt across the island and the region. 

In addition to introducing travelers to Kosrae’s diverse ecosystems and rich culture, Kosrae Village has made a commitment to work with the local community in preserving and sustainably developing the Island’s vital resources, while protecting its cultural heritage.

 

kosrae village cottage

Kosrae Village cottage

 


The three owners, Madison Nena, Bruce Brandt and Katrina Adams, designed Kosrae Village to demonstrate successful, sustainable ecotourism, concentrating on cultural heritage and environmental conservation.   I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Katrina Adams, about Kosrae Village.  Here's what she had to say...

WE:  Please tell us about Kosrae Village...

KA:
Kosrae Village Resort is an ecolodge / dive resort that has been in business since 1995.  The property was developed using traditional Kosraean building techniques and materials.  Because of the fragility of the site, all construction was done by hand – no heavy equipment of any type was used..

There are currently 9 individual ocean side bungalows under a heavy canopy of mature trees.  In addition to the cooling oceans breezes, each bungalow has ceiling fans.  Although each bungalow has electricity, toilets and hot showers, all wiring between buildings has buried and no wires are visible.  

 

Kosrae Village Inum Restaurant

 Kosrae Village Inum Restaurant

 

All staff (expect for Katrina and Bruce) are Micronesian.  Most guest interaction is will the local staff, providing a very rich cultural exchange.  The award winning Inum Restaurant features local dishes as well as adaptations that incorporate local products with international cuisine.

 

Kosrae Village Christmas parade

Kosrae children watching Christmas parade

 

Kosrae Village has been strongly committed to the reef and ocean ecology since the beginning.  During 1995 – 97 we were one of the major forces behind the cooperative community based mooring buoy program, which resulted is 50+ buoys being installed on 43 miles of reef.  Since this program was community based, fishermen as well as dive operators and other stakeholders were involved in the decisions relating to the placement of the buoys.  As a result we have had minimal vandalism or theft, and all ocean users anchor at the buoys.

 

Kosrae Village

Banded cleaning shrimp

 

 

In 1996 we began our coral monitoring program.  This program is in collaboration with the Kosrae State Marine Resources Department.  We recruit sport divers who volunteer to spend their vacation assisting us in monitoring our fringing reef.  The revenue generated by the volunteer divers is used to purchase needed equipment and supplies.  We train the volunteer divers in the appropriate monitoring techniques and protocols (we have been using the Reef Check protocols for the past several years).  Marine Resources identifies the monitoring areas, assists with the actual monitoring and confirms that the volunteers are appropriately trained.  Thanks to the assistance from the volunteers we have been able to monitor the changes to the reef over the past several years (including the 97 – 98 El Nino period) on a regular basis.  This information has greatly assisted Marine Resources with management planning, as well as making a contribution to the international data available on coral reef status.

 

Kosrae Village coral monitoring

Coral monitoring survey

 

 

We have provided copies of the Coral Reef video produced by the University of Guam Marine Lab to all of the island elementary schools (public and private), as well as several videos produced by SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environmental Program).  We have also participated in a number of presentations on the island’s ecosystems for the elementary schools.

 

Kosrae village - ghost gobi

Ghost Gobi

 

In 1999 we coordinated the island wide beach and underwater cleanup in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Coastal Cleanup effort.

 

purple queen anthias

Purple queen anthias

 

In addition to our major interest in the marine ecosystems, Madison Nena (our Kosraean partner) is the conservation officer for the Utwe – Walung Conservation Area and the recipient of the 1999 Indigenous Conservationist Seacology Prize.  Kosrae Village provides office space for the conservation area and strongly supports the efforts of local tour operators who are conducting tours of the various ecosystems contained with in the conservation area.  In addition to encouraging our guests to explore the mangrove and rainforest ecosystems with local Kosraean tour operators, we suggest that they participate in everyday Kosraean life such as attending church services.  This provides a very rich culture experience for the visitor and permits the local people to control the interaction with the visitors.

 

Family preparing traditional meal

Family preparing traditional meal

 

WE:  Ecotourism is an important way to travel now - how do you manage to incorporate ecotourism into your business?

KA:
Well - Kosrae Village was designed as an ecolodge, focusing on environmental and cultural conservation. So we've been doing since the beginning, about 15 years now. Of course we keep finding ways to improve what we do, and we have to continually evaluate; to make sure that we aren't having a negative effect on the environment, be as carbon neutral as possible, etc. Oh yes, and to make sure that we are financially sustainable.

 

Kosrae Village

Kosrae Village conference attendees work outside

 

WE: What sorts of activities do you offer?

KA: All sorts of outdoor activities, we have one of the best diving operations in Micronesia and also do snorkeling, fishing, free diving and blue water hunting. We do kayaking touring and diving and work with Kosraean tour guides who offer outrigger canoe tours, rainforest hiking, mountain climbing, and tours of the forest reserve. There are also informal tours of the ancient ruins and the WWII memorabilia We also make sure that guests have an opportunity to join in with any cultural events or holidays that might be taking place during their visit. We also teach underwater photography.

 

Kosrae village underwater photography

Kosrae reef world window

 

WE: Are children welcome? What about travelers with disabilities?

KA:
Absolutely. Kids love our place (and the millions of hermit crabs) and Kosrae loves kids. Kids can be kids here, they are free to run and play, make their own toys and generally experience the kinds of things we got to do when we were young. Disabled people are welcome as well. All of our public buildings and several of the cottages are ramped and designed with wheel chair turning radius in mind. The flight out here is long though and I really only recommend it for "sportspeople in chairs" and other hardy types.

 

Kosrae children

Kosrae Island children

 

WE: Please tell us about where you're located!

KA: 
Micronesia, just about 300 miles north of the equator and about 800 on the Asian side of the dateline. We are at about 5 degrees N and 163 degrees E. Although we are tropical, the climate is very temperate. Our island is very small, with high mountains and little development and the air temperature stays about 85 - 95 during the day and drops about 10 degrees at night. Ocean temp is about 84 degrees year around. Humidity is very high, generally 85 - 100 percent, we receive about 200 inches of rain a year.

 

Kosrae island

Kosrae Island landing approach

 

 

Kosrae Village

Canoe racing practice

 

 

WE:  Are there ways for visitors to give back, while there are staying with you?

KA: 
Yes - there a quite a few ways visitors can make a contribution. Divers might be interested in our coral monitoring / reef protection program which is eligible for US tax deductibility, the schools can always use books and teaching materials, people with specials skills and knowledge might enjoy working with counterparts here on the island and sharing some of their skills. Our local conservation NGO always has projects that need support. We are hoping to interest the community and landowners in turning some of the historical sites into true memorials, with informational signage, self guided tours, etc and this is another project that visitors might like to be involved in. Then there is the whole biosphere project.... I could go on for days :)

 

weaver, Kosrae island

weaver, Kosrae Island

 

 

 

WE: Thanks so much, Katrina! We can't wait to come visit you, and participae in all these incredible activities - and relax, of course! 

 

For more information, please check out:  http://kosraevillage.com

 

 

Kosrae Village - tok

Fahfah pounder or Tok

 

Boy Scouts demonstrating traditional work chants

Boy Scouts demonstrating traditional work chants

 

 

market window

Market window

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright of Kosrae Village.

 

 

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Comments (1)

  • fairlynm

    11 years 1 week ago

    What an interesting article!  The photos were so enticing..........ready to hop on a plane and visit!


    Fairlyn Montella


    Publisher, PREPARED AND EMPOWERED. ORG

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