Scientific Training for Ecotourism Development

Papua New Guinea - Madang Province

Training Program on "Bird Indentification and Recording" held at the Ohu Bush Leb, November - December '07. From left to right -- front row: Stephen Sau, Mark Mulau, Bruce Isua. Second row: Sulimai Hais, Sakias Ubal, Uromi Goodale. Third row: Eben Goodale, Semuel JP.

We (Uromi and Eben) had an amazing first visit to Papua New Guinea. Yes, the bird life is pretty astounding (800 some species on the island!), but it was the people we met that made the most impression on us. Going forward, we want to combine our scientific research in PNG with activities that promote the people of PNG’s interest in their biological wealth. In particular, given our own experiences, we think tourism in PNG will continue to develop rapidly over the next twenty years, and that ecotourism represents an opportunity for conservation and development to be intertwined sustainably and bring about economic stability.

Our hope is to work with PNG’ers towards the following goals:
  1. Run training programs in scientific identification that enable PNG’ers to learn about their flora and fauna and to show it to visitors.
  2. Help people who want to develop ecotourism get their message to the world via the internet.
  3. Run workshops that encourage young people in PNG to take up science as a career.
  4. Help young scientists learn about opportunities both abroad and in PNG to do research, especially on the flora and fauna of PNG.

We made some first steps towards these goals late last year, running a workshop at Ohu village on bird identification for four young men, starting a project that aims to make a CD recording of the birds of the lowlands around Madang, and doing a career development workshop for aspiring scientists at Moraka Lutheran Reform Church near Port Moresby. We look forward expanding this program when we visit PNG again.