Learn from a scientist program

Participants learn about the silverstripe mudskipper, the white faced heron, common periwinkle and many other marine species. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

NATUREFIJI-MAREQETIVITI Learn from a scientist program enables nature enthusiasts to learn about the different endemic and endangered species found in Fiji.
The program raises public awareness of Fiji’s biodiversity with the focus on biodiversity of Fijian forest and wetland ecosystem.
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti director Nunia-Thomas Moko said through the program that range from a few hours to a full day mini expedition, participants explore biodiversity within critical habitats of ecosystems that need to be conserved and managed sustainably to allow for natural ecological stability for provision of ecosystem services.
She said the program had started since 2014 and the organisation had a variety of programs and events throughout the year for children and adults that focus on different species each time.
“Some programs are repeated due to their popularity. We have three to four volunteers that usually assist the NatureFiji-MareqetiViti staff,” she said.
“For Mangrove Madness we were fortunate to have five students from the International School of Suva volunteers which was a great help as we had six different activity stations plus a mangrove walk.”
The participant learned about the Lemon yellow fiddler crab, the periwinkle, oysters, yellow tube sponge, barnacles, silver stripe mud skipper, white faced herons and reef egret.
The local experts leading the programs are herpetologist Nunia-Thomas Moko, botanist Isaac Rounds, forest ecologist Sanivalati Vido, ornithologist Dr Mark O’Brien, chiroptologist (bat specialist) professor Sophie Petit, lepidopterist and ecologist Siteri Tikoca, freshwater ichthyologist Lekima Copeland, wetland ecologist (macro-invertebrate specialist) Bindiya Rashni and geneticist/marine scientist Dr Monal Lal.
People can become NatureFiji-MareqetiViti club members and get annual event notices of upcoming activities.