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Grand Cayman Youth Help Preserve Fiji's Coral Reefs

Berkeley, California, Jan. 29 - /EWire/ -- Seacology, the world's premier nonprofit organization with the sole purpose of preserving island environments throughout the globe, announces an unprecedented partnership between Caribbean and South Pacific Islands. Seacology specializes in win-win projects where islanders receive a critically needed benefit they request in return for making an important sacrifice on behalf of the environment. In the remote Fijian village of Naikorokoro on the historic island of Ovalau, Seacology is building a much-needed kindergarten. In exchange, the village has agreed to establish a no-fishing reserve on a 17 square mile portion of their ancestral fishing area. This will enable the coral reefs and marine life to be replenished.

Upon hearing of this innovative project, John Gray Recyclers, an environmental club based at John Gray High School on Grand Cayman Island, volunteered to raise funds for this project on the other side of the globe. This group of students has dedicated itself to promoting recycling in the Cayman Islands and helping to keep the islands beautiful. The club has worked tirelessly to help protect the Cayman Island's coral reefs, considered to be among the most pristine in the Caribbean, as well as the islands' beaches and wildlife. Their website filled with information about these activities was awarded a prestigious Commonwealth Youth Award. To begin their fundraising efforts for the kindergarten in Naikorokoro and to show their support for other island communities around the world, John Gray Recyclers will be donating their 1,000 pounds sterling (US$1,600) Commonwealth Youth Award stipend to Seacology in a ceremony to take place at Grand Cayman's most historic building on Monday, February 10.

According to Seacology Executive Director Duane Silverstein, "Seacology is thrilled to have the John Gray Recyclers support our efforts to build a kindergarten in the remote village of Naikorokoro, Fiji in exchange for that village establishing a 17 square mile marine reserve. The fact that young people in the Cayman Islands, which are known far and wide for their beautiful and threatened coral reefs, are raising funds to preserve the coral reefs of a village halfway around the world is remarkable. Adults have a lot to learn from this student-inspired model of international cooperation."

Mrs. Christine Whitehead, the faculty coordinator of John Gray Recyclers, says, "This is a unique project that covers all areas of the curriculum and will also enrich the lives of the Club's members. The John Gray Recyclers are planning to make a visit to Naikorokoro Village for the opening of the kindergarten. It will be an unforgettable experience and we would like to thank Seacology for their insight and understanding in involving us with this project!"

Jeremy Forbes, the 18 year old president of John Gray Recyclers, stated, "We have decided to donate the money we have won from the Commonwealth Youth Services Award to Seacology's Fiji program because we thought that in this way we could reach out and help people who would not normally have the means to protect their coral reefs. We can hardly believe that we are now making an active international contribution to coral reef protection."

The Commonwealth Youth Awards Ceremony and presentation of the gift to Seacology will take place at Pedro Castle, Savannah, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and will commence at 7 PM on Monday, February 10, 2003. It will be hosted by the Cayman Islands Department of Youth and Sports. The guest speaker will be Duane Silverstein, executive director of Seacology

For more information:

Duane Silverstein, Executive Director, Seacology, 510-559-3505, duane@seacology.org,

www.seacology.org

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