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19th of December of 2016 was a milestone day for the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) staff and the community of Baan Ta Sanook (TSN), located in Phang Nga Province, South Thailand. After months of planning, building and organizing, the Mangrove Nature Trail and the Learning Center was officially opened at a special ceremony and finally ready to receive visitors!
The mangrove nature trail is a 70-meter walkway which is partly raised concrete so is always dry even at high tide and traverses through a biodiverse mangrove stand allowing you to have a close-up experience with the mangrove ecosystem. It was constructed carefully so not a single mangrove tree had to be cut down. Mangrove species signs are located along the trail as well as mangrove ecology interpretation sign-boards and ends at a Learning Center, a small wooden shelter built over-top of a pond. Information about mangrove conservation and ecosystem, are located at the Learning Center which is perfect for environmental education school groups. This project has been funded by DAIMLER AG, the maker of Mercedes Benz vehicles as a CorporateSocial Responsibility (CSR) project, and is managed by Global Nature Fund (GNF) of Germany.
This project puts together people from different villages creating a place to discuss mangrove conservation and restoration ideas within each other, and most importantly encouraging people to work together and create long-term successful projects. The learning center is a place to support mangrove environmental education of local schools, so kids as the future representatives of these communities are not only learning inside the classroom but also outside in the middle of the real living mangrove nature.
On the grand opening day we had a beautiful sunny morning, with about 120 participants, including people from the official governments in Phang-Nga province like the Deputy Chief Executive of the Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO), representatives from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), the Head Master of TSN school. Also it was amazing to have the participation from the different communities where MAP has carried projects and has worked with over the past number of years to help celebrate this special occasion. Village representatives came Ban Bang Kang Kao and Ban Leam MaKham in Trang and from Krabi province Ban Klong Lu and Ban Nai Nang. The importance of the nature trail and the Learning Center for the protection of the mangroves was mentioned a number of times during the opening, inviting everyone to be part of this project.
Speakers and villagers gather at the opening ceremony for the Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center
Students from the area enjoying the new nature trail
Local students walking on the new paths through the nature trail.
In middle, MAP’s Technical Advisor, Mr. Sompoch Nimsantijaroen, explaining the purpose of the learning center to the Government Officials of Phang Nga Province.
MAP hopes the Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center is well used and maintained for many years to come inspiring all users to learn and protect this vital ecosystem.
MAP Asia ventures into developing mangrove nature trails
MAP Asia has been developing Mangrove Nature Trails in partnership with two communities involved in mangrove restoration.
The first project is located at the Klong Lu Homestay, on Koh Klang Island, Krabi Province, Southern Thailand with the combined trail and mangrove restoration project completed in December 2015, with the support from the Global Nature Fund (GNF). The mangrove restoration site, which was an abandoned shrimp pond, is situated next to the Klong Lu Homestay and appears to be a great opportunity for the community to develop a nature trail as part of their eco-tourism activities. With the help from MAP and volunteers from Project Abroad the construction of the trail advanced rapidly and is already in use. The Mangrove Nature Trail consists of a short loop pathway around the Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration site with three interpretation signs on mangrove ecology along the trail. There are also mangrove species identification signs which describe the various species found on site. This is a great opportunity to promote mangrove ecosystems and educate visitors who include daily tourists, individuals and groups staying at Klong Lu Homestay, local school kids and other students. This year, already 2000 people have utilized this nature trail.
Klong Lu Mangrove Interpretative Nature Trail, Krabi
The second mangrove nature trail project is located at Ta Sanook Village, in Phang Nga Province. It is being funded by DAIMLER AG and is managed by GNF. The short nature trail will go through a very biodiverse mangrove stand passing over a tidal stream which provides an opportunity to see a variety of species close-up. The community plans to repair a shelter overtop a pond at the end of the walkway which can be used for group discussions. The construction of the 70 meter-path started in early March 2016 and aims to be completed by May 2016. This Mangrove Nature Trail will mainly serve to support mangrove environmental education of local schools.
Construction of the nature trail in Ta-Sanook is advancing quickly
MAP is excited to be involved in these environmental education projects as it is the first time mangrove interpretative nature trails have been developed. We hope they will be a fantastic tool for education of local communities, students as well as visitors and tourists.