Letter from the Chairman
The past several months have been some of the most exciting in the history of Seacology. In April we were thrilled that Fuiono Senio, a former Seacology Indigenous Conservationist of the Year 1993, was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, a recognition that Time Magazine refers to as an alternative Nobel Prize. The Falealupo Rain Forest Canopy Walkway was dedicated in a gala ceremony in Western Samoa, attended by the Prime Minister and his cabinet.
Through the generosity of friends in the business community, Seacology has for the first time been able to endow forever a tropical rain forest. And a recent board election allows us to welcome to the Seacology Board Sandie Tillotson, whose experience in international business and deep compassion for indigenous people will help Seacology continue to grow in the future.
In so many ways all of these successes exceed the rather modest dreams we had when we established Seacology. To hear the elected leaders of an island nation, represented by their Prime Minister and entire cabinet, publically endorse tropical rain forest conservation, to see a brave indigenous conservationist meet with the leaders of the United Nations and receive international recognition, and to realize that an endowment will forever protect an island rain forest, is more than I could ever had hoped to witness in my lifetime. I believe in a large measure the credit belongs to those of you who have sacrificed to support Seacology.
Many people in the environmental community told us that our dream of establishing a foundation that channeled 100% of all donated funds directly to conservation projects, without any administrative overhead would be impossible. Others told us that our vision of working with the business community in innovative conservation projects was a far fetched idea. And our initial hopes of raising international awareness of the plight of indigenous people who have to choose between educating their children and protecting their rain forests, seemed unlikely to be accomplished by a small foundation headquartered in Utah and administered and run by volunteers with far more love and compassion than experience in the non-profit world. For all of this, I thank you.
Thank you for being willing to donate to a foundation that focuses on projects, rather than fund raising. Thank you for sharing our vision of saving the world, one village at a time. It appears that our efforts are working, and for this we thank you whether your donation to Seacology is a monetary gift, a gift of talent, or perhaps most importantly, your prayers.
We particularly ask for your prayers for the family of Fuiono Senio, who died as this newsletter was going to press. I know that he would want to thank you for doing so much to save our planet.
Nafanua Paul Alan Cox, Ph.D.