My experience at the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program was one I won’t be forgetting soon. The way that the staff managed the constantly changing dynamic was wonderful and they maintained a good balance of diligent conservation work, and beautiful diving. While I was there during my 6-week stint, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) had us join them twice to work on a project, which was abnormal for the program. However, the RCP program accommodated both us and the government by offering both governmental and typical projects on those days, allowing those with different conservation goals to experience different aspects of marine conservation.
The RCP was also amazing in that the experience and education you were able to gain was correlated to the time you put into it. With every day being a different project or location, nothing was exactly the same each day which allowed us to participate in a huge breadth of conservation activities ranging from data collection and sightings to buoy installation and artificial reef deployment. All the staff were very knowledgeable on the subjects they lectured on, and more information was readily available if you asked questions and had the desire. Despite the amount of work available to be learned or completed, the staff were accommodating and didn’t force anything, letting each conservationist work at their own pace.
As a young rising Marine Ecologist, my time at the NHRCP was the most valuable 6-weeks I have had thus far, and the experience, knowledge, and the good times with the RCP family will stay with me and draw me back to the frontlines of conservation on Koh Tao as soon as possible.
My time with the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program was an experience I will never forget and always cherish. For years I have known I wanted to work in marine conservation, but was unsure of exactly what field I wanted to be in. After being thoroughly inspired by NHRCP’s work I now have a career path to follow—coral restoration and conservation. That decision was easy once I realized how fun, interactive, and important their work is.
Each day at New Heaven you can look forward to an educational lecture pertaining specifically to coral ecology and restoration. After that, the real fun begins. Whether the day’s project includes surveying the ecosystem for changes in health, building upon artificial reefs, or controlling predator outbreaks, you can guarantee you’ll have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment. Daily dives in the beautiful blue sea around Koh Tao are always a treat, but there’s nothing better than being able to give back to the ecosystem during your dives.
One of the best things about the NHRCP is their ability to include anyone into their program. Because the NHRCP includes lectures, volunteers are taught everything they need to know to be an effective team member, regardless of your educational or career background. Also, whether you are merely passing through Koh Tao for a few days or planning an extended stay, you will be treated as a valuable team member and friend for the duration of your time. The New Heaven Reef Conservation Program is an excellent program and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys diving and has an interest in giving back to our beautiful Earth.
Volunteering at New Heaven Reef Conservation Program is definitely a life-changing experience. As soon as you join the program, you have the feeling to be part of family of really passionate marine conservationists and diving addicts. While learning theoretical aspect of marine biology and conservation in the morning, you dedicate your afternoon to conservation dives, an excellent way to directly apply all the things you’ve learned. Each day means new adventures to come, you never know what to expect for your dive: an amazing massive field of Euphyllia, the majestic night snow of the coral spawning, a whale shark coming to say hello, witnessing huge school of fishes dancing around you, spotting rare species of fishes and so on. This friendly team of passionate people is really inspiring and make you feel at home on the paradise island of Koh Tao. If you’re consumed by wanderlust and the thirst of doing positive actions for the threatened world surrounding us, joining NHRCP is the best choice you can make. One thing is sure, I will come back to Koh Tao to once again help with the preservation of this amazing and complex ecosystem and yet jeopardized.