Studying Mangroves in Trat Province, Thailand
05.02.2016 - 07.02.2016
I am receiving a scholarship from the Freeman Foundation under the condition that I complete an internship abroad. I am so grateful not only that I am receiving the scholarship but that it is pushing me to pursue an internship while in Thailand. The EAP Liaison at Thammasat is the best, and sets students up with internships every semester. I choose to work with The Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) along with Jenna and Maria from UC Berkeley.
The Sustainable Development Foundation has many projects in Trat, the south-eastern-most province in Thailand. I am studying the mangroves and Jenna and Maria are studying the waste management of Trat province. A few weekends ago we went to Trat province to meet the director of SDF and learn about the projects we could participate in. We also got to sit in on a meeting where people could voice their concerns about fishing policies with their government representative.
The rally before the meeting
This weekend I went to Trat province again to meet with subdistrict leaders (like town mayors) and visit the mangroves. I learned about the history of mangroves in Trat province; they are breeding grounds for fish and important for the fishermen's livelihood but rice and shrimp farms have displaced some of the mangroves even though the mangroves are on protected land. Property rights were only established a few generations ago so it is much more complicated than I had imagined.
Called the "Talking Forest" because the signs allow the trees to tell their story
For the next few weeks I will be doing independent research and writing a paper that I will present to SDF.
Almost forgot, I got interviewed for local television too! After walking through the mangroves for an hour they stopped me and said "now we will interview you for the news tonight." I was a little surprised to say the least, but maybe I shouldn't have been because a guy with camera equipment had been fallowing us. If anyone finds the video of me on the interwebs send it my way!