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This is a guest blog, by Zach Boakes studying BSc (Hons) Environmental Science.

The story behind my research has a less than academic setting! In May 2016, I was in Bali as a volunteer, teaching children how to play the drums. Whilst I was there, I made friends with a local guy, Ketut, and we began snorkelling together. We started discussing our shared interests in marine conservation,
and I realised that the north of Bali, where Ketut lives, was in serious need of a reef conservation program. When I returned to BU, I co-founded
Bali Reef Conservation as part of my summer placement. Since then, I’ve travelled to Bali three times, and I’m now working here for my placement year (thanks
to some extra funding from BU towards my flights). The aim of Bali Reef Conservation is to restore and conserve coral reef in a small Indonesian fishing village
called Tianyar. It has been destroyed due to unsustainable fishing practices and excessive boat traffic, so we are building artificial reefs in the area with the aim of connecting two existing health coral reefs. We’ve built and deployed over 2,000 artificial reef units already but we also carry out other work, such as plastic recycling programs, turtle conservation, weekly marine conservation classes with local schools, and beach cleans. My main role is managing volunteers, fishermen and teachers, ensuring that we have a lot of community engagement with the program. We work with people, educating them about how to live more sustainably and protect their marine environment. My lecturers have been a great support, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without their help. It’s been an incredible experience, and one that means I have no hesitation in recommending BU!

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