Upskill Post Graduate Excursion: Coral & Marine Conservation
Exploring the Depths with Yayasan LINI
On November 8 and 9, 2023, in the heart of Tejakula, amidst the tranquility of Desa Les, we took our postgraduate students on an engaging journey to deepen their coral management and marine conservation knowledge as part of their winter semester of Tropical Coastal Ecology and Community Based Management postgraduate program. Enthusiastically led by upskill’s program coordinator, Yoni, and accompanied by group comprises three other students representing LINI—Tri Wahyu Prabowo, Jenana Putra, and Putu Ari Pratiwi—eager to explore tropical coastal ecology at LINI's doorstep.
Day 1: A Memorable Arrival at LATC
The LINI Aquarium & Training Centre (LATC) welcomed the group with open arms, a serene environment, and a refreshing breeze that set the stage for a unique learning experience. The students, accustomed to the bustling life of South Bali, found solace in the peaceful surroundings of Tejakula. What struck them most was the absence of the usual tourist hustle, allowing them to fully get in tune with this distinct environment.
Upon arrival, LINI's dedicated team, including Fanfuji Ananda, Adriel Prayoga, and Anandabhuwana, extended warm greetings, easing the fatigue from our journey. The accommodation, a charming wooden house from Sulawesi, offered individual rooms to the students. This house, available on Airbnb, serves both as lodging and a hub for visitors interested in supporting LINI's work, be it through aquaculture activities, scientific diving, or educational initiatives.
The day kicked off with an insightful presentation by Anandabhuwana, shedding light on LINI's inception, mission, and overarching goals. Born in 2008, LINI, derived from the word "line," strives to unite diverse stakeholders into a common line of purpose. As a non-profit organization, LINI focuses on fisheries, aquaculture, education, and research, fostering collaborations with the government, local communities, and universities.
The LINI Aquarium & Training Centre (LATC) in Les, established in 2015, plays a pivotal role in driving positive environmental changes. Empowering local women to participate in the environmental movement, LINI trains them in breeding marine species for both economic sustenance and coral reef restoration. The LATC's spotlight is on the conservation of the endangered Banggai Cardinal Fish (BCF), coral reef restoration, and aquaculture activities.
The excursion became more fascinating as Putu Ari Pratiwi guided the students through the aquaculture aquarium, showcasing the Banggai Cardinal Fish (BCF) and various coral species under study. The experience was not just about observation; it was about understanding the intricate processes behind coral reef restoration.
At lunchtime, a delightful spread of Balinese dishes prepared by local staff served as a moment for cultural exchange and camaraderie. The students found themselves engrossed in conversations, forming connections that transcended geographical boundaries. The afternoon was continued with a hands-on session—crafting artificial reefs known as "Roti buaya." This initiative, aimed at promoting coral recruitment and providing a habitat for fish, allowed students to blend water, calcium, cement, and sand into a concoction that would shape the future of marine life. As our students created these artificial reefs with carefully placed holes, they contributed to LINI's ongoing success story in Desa Les.
Day 2: Aquaculture Experience and Waterfall Visit
The excursion revealed the roots of coral reef restoration in Desa Les, tracing back to 2013, when the community recognized the declining fish population due to harmful fishing practices. LINI's intervention with artificial reefs has resulted in over 1,000 coral reefs, a proof to the impact of community-driven conservation. This second day brought a deeper engagement with aquaculture activities, from feeding to tank maintenance, providing students with a firsthand understanding of the commitment required in marine conservation. A visit to Yeh Mampeh Waterfall concluded the day’s session, offering a refreshing break amid the pristine waters.
As the excursion drew to a close, the students reflected on the simplicity and importance of LINI's efforts. One of our students, Florian, aptly described it as "simple but important," echoing the sentiment of LINI's commitment to conservation. The students left Tejakula with a newfound appreciation for the slow-paced life, realizing that even small educational steps could lead to significant environmental changes.
In essence, upskill Udayana's Postgraduate program of Tropical Coastal Ecology and Community Based Management’s excursion to LINI's sanctuary became more than an academic pursuit—it became an important experience, intertwining knowledge, cultural exchange, and a shared commitment to safeguarding our oceans.
By Billy Bagus