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By Kate Knight Office Development & Field Project Assistant (Intern)
On July 1st 2018, Mangrove Action Project and Nai Nang Apiculture Group hosted a “How to do” beekeeping training workshop for new communities interested in this supplementary livelihood. There was a total of 32 participant trainees who came from 3 different villages that MAP currently has a mangrove restoration project in: 12 people from Bang Kang Khao village, Sikao District, Trang; 4 people from Thung Yor village, Klong Thom District, Krabi; and 16 people from Kong Lu village, Muang District, Krabi. The workshop provided a great opportunity for Nai Nang trainers to disseminate some of their valuable knowledge and for other villages to learn about how the group has become so successful with their apiculture enterprise, with the hope of being able to replicate it in their own village. This livelihood training workshop was kindly funded by the LUSH Charity Pot, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetic company.
Community to community apiculture training gets underway.
The day started with a welcome speech and introduction from Mr Arlee, the secretary of the Nai Nang Apiculture group, the hosts and trainers. Ning, MAP Thailand’s field officer, then gave a brief talk about the work MAP has done in Nai Nang and the background to the workshop, followed by a brief discussion of how the Nai Nang group was formed given by the president, Mr. Sutee Pankwan. Nai Nang village was originally a part of a larger conservation group with the neighboring villages called the Khloa Kan Conservation Group, who were responsible for the mangrove forests, peat forest lands and coastal ecosystems in the district. There were many frustrations for the conservation group, such as no budget to carry out large projects but also the time needed to rehabilitate the forest meaning a long wait before the community were able to make a livelihood from the forest. Therefore, Nai Nang decided to start a local enterprise raising bees in order to provide themselves with a supplemental income while at the same time still supporting their important mangrove conservation work.
Trainees, both male and female, were keen listeners & students.
The Nai Nang Apiculture group gave a very professional detailed, interesting and fun workshop on the many steps to successful bee keeping. Firstly, they explained how they construct the beehive boxes out of recycled wood removed from old abandoned boats. There was then the opportunity for the participants to get hands-on and construct their own boxes using some wood and tools supplied by Nai Nang. “Learning by doing” was lots of fun for all the trainees while the trainers provide useful tips based on their experience. After the successful construction exercise, everyone set off to the nearby rubber tree plantation on the edge of a mangrove forest which is the site where it is possible to set-out the boxes so wild bees (apis cerana) can take-up free residency and establish a productive colony. Here we were given another demonstration about how to set up the new bee box and make it an attractive home by rubbing bees wax on the inside and then transport them to the permanent bee yard.
After lunch the a step-by-step demonstration continued with participants being shown how to collect the honeycomb from the active beehive, without getting stung, which is a real skill so everyone paid very close attention. Throughout the workshop, the participants were keen listeners and had many interesting questions for the group. The highlight of the workshop for many trainees was the demonstration of extracting the honey, filtering it, and finally getting a chance to taste the fresh golden liquid. The profitable honey represented the sweet taste of a successful partnership between the hardworking bee colony and Nai Nang Apiculture group which provides the safe, dry, rent free homes and protecting their mangrove as a source of nectar for the bees.
Materials and tools needed for constructing beehive boxes.
Demonstration showing how to extract and filter the honey.
One of the main points made during the workshop was the importance of mangrove conservation for bee raising. It was stressed how the two projects go hand in hand and it is not possible to raise bees without also working on mangrove conservation. Bees must have enough food sources within five kilometers of the bee hive for them to produce honey so ensuring a healthy forest is a precursor for apiculture.
Just before lunch everyone was treated to a short drive to view the mangrove forests in Nai Nang and MAP’s original Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration site. This was a particularly interesting part of the day where each village shared their own experiences with mangrove conservation and discussed the differences between the mangrove sites in Nai Nang and the ones in their own village. Many great stories and advice was shared between the Nai Nang Group and other villagers, and everyone took something new away with them.
Discussion between communities on mangrove conservation & restoration.
The workshop ended with each village coming together to discuss what they had learnt during the workshop. Using flipcharts each village created a quick strategy of what they would do next when they returned to their village in order to start raising bees. These were then shared with the group and then opened up to members of the Nai Nang Apiculture Group for comments and suggestions. It was clear how much each participant had learned from the workshop with the amount of detail that had gone into the plans. It was particularly good to see that each strategy started with improving the health of the mangrove forests and ensuring plentiful food sources for bees as this was one thing that was continually stressed throughout the workshop.
Ban Klong Kum community presented their apiculture plans
Please watch our short video (6:33 minutes) on the beekeeping workshop held at Nai Nang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On80W7sswJw&t=1s
Mangrove Meet-up: Sharing ideas, perspectives and experiences
March 9th was another sweltering day in southern Thailand. The air was almost wet with humidity, the sun beat down from overhead, and the relentless heat hung around like a blanket. However, the midday temperature did not stop the seven villagers from Ban Thung Yor, Klong Thom, Krabi Province who were exploring the mangrove restoration site at Ban Nai Nang. This was the second stop on a two-day tour of three villages affiliated with Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and funded through Synchronicity Earth of the UK. The tour was set up to highlight the experiences of MAPs participants and share ideas of how to successfully restore their own mangrove area.
Earlier that day they had explored the site at Ban Lang Da- a reclaimed shrimp pond area where the abundant green mangroves showed the success of the Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration project (CBEMR) started in 2008. The site was restored back to mangrove forest, after it had been converted into a shrimp pond and then abandoned for more than 10 years. Village leader Mr. Bandon Mad-osot showed the sites’ foliage and reestablished fish, crab and bird populations to the villagers from Ban Thung Yor. He spoke of his community’s experience working with MAP and ended his tour by saying, “I don’t have very much more to say. Just do it! You will see so many benefits for your community.” The villagers asked many questions and were excited to see how the area has reestablished the mangroves over time. “It is beautiful,” spoke the village chief of Thung Yor, “so much green everywhere.”
Our group posing for a picture in front of the bee and rubber garden at Ban Nai Nang. March 8th, 2017
The second stop of the day brought the villagers to the heat of mid-day and to the eco village of Ban Nai Nang. Villagers got to meet Mr. Sutee Pankwan the chairperson of the villages apiculture group, and discussed how the village has many different groups (crab bank, ecotourism, and apiculture product production) and that allwork together and contribute their profits to the conservation group that aids the preservation of the mangroves. Sutee Pankwan highlighted the need to learn and work together and share knowledge to be successful, and told the group that, “working together is the key to our success. We all have different groups in the village, but we always make sure that some of the money we make, goes into the conservation fund. Without natre, our projects would be pointless.” He also shared that the village was trying to register as a community forest, and that they have plans to work on rehabilitating the mangrove area in the coming month. After trying some of the delicious honey and touring the mangrove site, the villagers embarked on the final step of their trip.
Two participants showing off their own handmade Batik prints made at Ban Talae Nok. March 9th, 2017.
The tour concluded with an overnight visit to the village of Ban Talae Nok. Villagers here have worked for years to reestablish their mangrove area, and have divided it into two sections- one left to restore naturally, and another with the addition of the planning of Nypa plants that the villagers use for thatch roofs, cigarette rollers, food, and daily life. Villagers of Ban Thung Yor were invited to learn to make batik fabric prints and were taken on a tour of the mangrove area, which has grown a considerable amount since the last time it was visited. “Our biggest problem was hydrology of the site,” spoke Mr. Ekakarat Cheangyang, “once we got the hydrology fixed, the area grew back quite quickly, and is still growing.” Indeed, the lush green leaves and myriad of crabs, birds, and monkeys are a sure sign of the sites success.
A group “selfie” in the Mangrove Restoration Site at Ban Talae Nok. March 9th, 2017.
Upon saying goodbye, and arriving back in Ban Thung Yor, the participants were left with a lot of information and knowledge. Thung Yor village chief, Mr. Raksa Komodkhan said, “Thank you so much for taking us on this trip. We have a lot to think about now and will raise these ideas with our community.” Hopefully after some reflection, they will decide to join the MAP network and make their site the latest addition to the restoration areas directed by MAP.
Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center Opening!
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: Cleaning coastal communities and encouraging Krabi kids to care for their country
By MAP Intern: Amber Blowes Photography: Michael Wright
The 2016 World Environment Day weekend was a busy one for the staff at MAP Asia in Thailand with celebrations in Krabi, filming taking place at the EPIC ponds on Koh Klang and a clean-up at Ta-Sanook village, Phang Nga province.
Friday the 3rd of June dawned rainy, yet this did not stop thousands of school children descending upon the Krabi Provincial Administrative Organization for World Environment Day celebrations. Teaming up with the Nai Nang village beekeepers, the Global Nature Fund (GNF) of Germany and with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) support from Daimler AG, the Asia Office staff readied the display and activities in the inclement weather. The Nai Nang beekeepers brought along a selection of honey and soap, which garnered interest from children and adults alike. The children proved keen to learn about the importance of mangrove ecosystems, recycling, and the dangers of plastic pollution. Their enthusiasm and interest in our stall was evident, and everyone had a wonderful time. We can definitely say that we surprised many of them with our games, particularly when they learned just how long it takes for rubbish to break down (up to 600 years for nylon fishing line and up to 1000 years for polystyrene, just in case you were wondering)!
[Left] The MAP crew (staff, intern and Nai Nang Villagers) ready themselves for the incoming hordes of children. [Right] Listening attentively whilst Pick explains the breakdown of rubbish.
After some recuperation time we headed across the river to Koh Klang to meet up with Ning and Bastian Hartig. Bastian was filming EPIC’s mangrove restoration sites for an upcoming piece on the television program ‘Global Ideas’ for German network Deutsche Welle (DW). Keep an eye out for the release of this news piece in June on the Global Ideas website! For those of us who are new to MAP, we spent much of the time trudging through the deep, sticky mud, familiarising ourselves with the array of mangroves, crabs, molluscs and mudskippers which can be found on the site.
Bastian (in white) filming the preparation and planting of a few nipa palm seedlings on the EPIC project site.
Saturday the 4th started early with a drive to Ta-Sanook village for a clean-up at the just constructed short nature trail walk through the mangroves. There was plenty to do, with high tides sweeping in rubbish and debris, and left over construction materials to collect. For those of us who were spending our first high-tide in a Thai mangrove forest, it came as something of a surprise just how quickly the water rose through the forest. Soon enough, we were cleaning in water reaching our knees. Teaming together, we managed to shift left over construction materials from the nature trail and dismantle an abandoned shed, repurposing as many of the materials as possible.
Left over wood from the nature trail construction was collected for reuse.
After a truly delicious lunch provided by the locals, the village and staff regrouped and headed back out into the mangroves. Men, women and children all pitched in to comb through the mangroves, collecting garbage and recyclable items. We can report that the construction of the nature trail is progressing well, the mangroves are looking clean and we can’t wait to return to see it when it is complete!
Even the smallest residents of Ta-Sanook involved themselves in the clean-up.