Saturday, January 2, 2010

Isa Mundo in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Isa Mundo made it's first site visits to Dominican Republic in December 2009 near the resort town of Punta Cana. Despite the economic success brought about by the tourism industry, there are still communities that are coping with poverty and other related social problems.

Isa Mundo believes there are opportunities in Dominican to complete environmental and education projects. Isa Mundo was able to see firsthand the infamous Reef Ball Foundation's reef ball projects which have been installed in front of hotels on the southern side of Dominican republic for purposes for beach restoration. The mission of the Reef Ball Foundation “is to rehabilitate our world's ocean reef ecosystems and to protect our natural reef systems using Reef Ball artificial reef technologies. Reef Balls are artificial reef modules placed in the ocean to form reef habitat” ( Isa Mundo was guided by Miguel Cabral, Reef Ball Dominicana (Reef Ball Foundation partner for Dominican Republic) on a breezy, sun-drenched day in the Caribbean. The snorkeling excursion began from the white sand beach in front of the Grand Dominicus hotel and headed east over a few hundred reef balls. It is evident that the logistics of getting so many concrete Reef Balls into place must have been a challenge, but they have certainly stood the test of time (even through a hurricane), have prevented further erosion of sand from the beach and have increased the amount of sand creating a larger sand beach. Further details of this project can be found at their website. We would like to thank Miguel and the Reef Ball Foundation for the tour – the Isa Mundo Foundation looks forward to exploring future collaborations to help carry out the Reef Ball Foundation’s mission of protecting our oceans.

Isa Mundo was also able to learn about the organization called FESONAP (Fundación Ecológica y Social Natura Park) who is doing work to promote conservation and ecotourism to the local community. We were fortunate to meet FESONAP member Juan Carlos Sanchez, who gave Isa Mundo the history of the foundation, the national protected park nearby and a local school and community in need of support.

The Isa Mundo Foundation looks forward to exploring future collaborations with our new friends in Dominican. We will keep you updated as we progress. We will also have Isa Mundoers visiting the area in February and in March, bringing donations and much needed supplies to communities, a school and an orphanage.