At SORCE we believe that education is key to conducting good research and carrying out effective conservation strategies. We are constantly furthering our own education by gaining new certifications and working with new groups of people, but we also strive to educate those around us. This includes international visitors (tourists, students, academics), local conservation organisations, local communities, local students, private stakeholders, tourists and anyone else who is interested!
When joining one of our Expeditions, visitors receive training and education in each aspect of their trip. From day one we give briefings on our projects and initiatives so that participants understand how and why our programs operate. We continue this training by giving lectures combined with hands-on practice before any new project is undertaken. This ensures that each participant has the skills and knowledge to confidently take part in the activities we run.
One of the expeditions we offer includes a Marine Science A-Level course accredited by Cambridge International for students aged 18+ and at all stages in their careers. This course gives a solid foundation for studying and understanding marine ecosystems with all theoretical learning complemented by hands-on practical sessions.
Students working on their undergraduate and post-graduate dissertations and theses also choose SORCE as a location to pursue fieldwork. As part of our Research Thesis Placement SORCE works with students to tailor projects to meet university requirements, and then offers support and on-site resources to help complete these projects. Additionally, the SORCE community is full of other participants excited and involved in marine studies who are eager to assist with student projects in order to build their collective experience.
Through affiliations with a number of universities around the world SORCE is able to act as a field station for visiting academics who have an interest in study areas related to our projects. Through collaboration SORCE and our partners are able to disseminate new research developments to the global scientific community, as well as to the general public.
There are also a number of other ways that our visitors can enhance their education during their time with us. International certifications are available through ReefCheck, Reef Guru and CoralWatch, as well as a number of workshops developed by our on-site marine biologists and conservation experts. Participants also have the opportunity to pursue further scuba certifications during their time here.
Our organization could not effectively run without support from the local community. We are imbedded amongst local villages who have a deep rooted knowledge of the area in which we operate, including cycles and trends in habitat productivity, species diversity, weather conditions and more. These people are the driving force for all life here and are also the biggest stakeholders in the regions continued productivity. Successful changes cannot be enacted without their backing, and we thoroughly believe that local ownership and engagement is essential at all stages of a projects life. We therefore, take steps to ensure that we are engaging with the local people regarding all of our projects and on as many levels as possible. Through presentations, workshops and community-led activities we share knowledge of what we are doing and why we are doing it so that they can understand the benefits of projects such as ours, for both the wider world and in their own lives. It is vitally important that our actions and programs are mutually beneficial for conservation and the social-economic standing of the people who live here. Communication is key and this goes both ways, so here at SORCE we promote open communication with the local community, not just by telling them what we aim to achieve and how but by listening to their views and learning from their experience as well.
SORCE works with Mataram University, as well as a number of local schools in order to encourage students to develop an understanding and appreciation of the marine environment. This happens through beach cleanups, snorkeling and swimming lessons, conservation workshops, and cultural exchanges to share and learn from each other. We also host University Students for field trips and field experience placements in order to help them to develop their own research projects and to gain hands on training and experience in the field. This along with occasional guest lectures at the University, gives us the great honor of being able to assist in the training of Lombok’s next generation of marine biologists and conservation professionals.
In addition SORCE is partnered with a number of local conservation organisations. These groups consist primarily of local people who have an interest in and passion for the marine world and its protection. Through these partnerships we are able to learn from their members whilst also sharing our own expertise and knowledge. We hold workshops and training programs to help educate the members of these organisations regarding coral restoration, turtle conservation, mangrove restoration, seagrass restoration and a variety of other conservation related activities. Through this partnership we are also able to benefit from their expertise and experience within the local community to supplement our local knowledge as our organization expands.
The tourist industry on Lombok is increasing rapidly, and as it does, we are increasing our reach to make significant impact by encouraging the generation of an environmentally aware tourism industry. By educating local resorts and businesses we often find support in tackling our other initiatives, such as increasing local patrols to minimize destructive fishing techniques. Additionally, tourists visiting the area benefit from sound ecological presentations which convey both the magnificence of the place they’ve come to visit, but also the threats it faces and the steps we can collectively take to conserve it.