President Stanley in Africa
President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. traveled to Madagascar and Kenya this summer to experience Stony Brook University’s commitment to improving lives around the world. During his two-week adventure, he visited three sites that feature some of Stony Brook’s most far-reaching research and development efforts.
Day Five – CVB’s Conservation Outreach Programs
Today, our last morning in Ranomafana, we visited the village of Ambatolahy to meet its Elders and children. Since the beginning Pat Wright has worked closely with the villagers near Ranomafana National Park in an effort to protect Madagascar’s unique and biologically diverse ecosystems. Her outreach program has grown to include collaboration with more than 22 local villages. Within most of these villages, Centre ValBio's Conservation and Education Outreach (CE&O) program works most intimately with 15 conservation clubs — consisting of nearly 500 individuals. Pat focuses her efforts on the youngest in the village, who oftentimes teach their parents. These public awareness programs highlight the unique biodiversity of Madagascar.
In addition, CVB started its reforestation program in the schools and has begun to expand its initiative to the villages. Reforestation is needed and local communities have to be involved in these efforts. However, without an understanding of why forests and biodiversity should be preserved, successful conservation cannot follow. Therefore, biodiversity conservation education is another top priority in successful conservation efforts in the region, especially for the children.
Centre ValBio’s CE&O department also provides seeds and training for vegetable gardens to improve the nutrition of those living in impoverished rural communities. Since the inception of the park, education and outreach to the local community has been a vital component of preservation and management of Ranomafana’s exquisite biodiversity.
After a short flight to Antananarivo, we joined almost 500 people at a July 4th celebration at the U.S. Embassy. We were invited by Brett Bruen, Conseiller a la Communication et aux Affaires Culturelles, L'Ambassade des Etats-Unis d’Amérique. Brett participated in the NamanaBe Hall inauguration last evening and has been a big supporter of Stony Brook and CVB. He has sponsored cultural events and has partnered with Miss Madagascar (who attended the Inauguration) to promote CVB and Ranomafana. It was a wonderful reception. Eric Wong, the Charges d’Affairs, gave an inspiring speech. He recognized Pat Wright and CVB as an example of innovation and a successful collaboration with Stony Brook and the Malagasy universities that do important conservation and outreach work. This was a capstone event, as we wound down the celebration of NamanaBe Hall.