Community Outreach and Conservation

The island of Yap is considered to be an area with great biological diversity with a wide array of flora and fauna present in the area. However, the pristine tropical dry forests of Yap are under serious threat from a multitude of forces including climate change, fisheries, deforestation and land degradation just to name a few. The continued survival of Yap is thus dependent on partnerships created between the Yapese people and the conservation groups aimed at preserving the world’s biodiversity.  Yap is fortunate enough to have individuals and community members who are invested in protecting its tropical dry forests, heritage and abundant coral reefs.

Community involvement is very important in the conservation of any ecosystem. Once the welfare of a community is met only then can the community begin caring about the future of the environment and the wildlife that helps bring it to life. Thus, in Yap, social welfare is directly correlated to environmental sustainability and conservation. The Yapese Government, NGO’s, ecotourism hotels, schools and community groups all work together to help protect Yap, the biodiversity hotspot that they call home.

In order to see the impact that the communities in Yap are having on conserving their biodiversity, let’s take a look at a couple of their organizations:

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s)

Yap Community Action Program (YapCAP)
P.O. Box 426 Colonia, Yap State, FM 96943
Phone: (691) 350-2198
Fax: (691) 350-2381

The Yap Community Action program was founded in Yap in 1979. YapCAP focuses on helping rural communities in Yap raise their standard of living through ensuring that developmental projects at the community level are consistent with the state’s overall developmental goals and policies. YapCAP became the main administering agency of community development in 1995 when the Yap Community Development Act was passed.  Thus, YapCAP’s mission has become aimed at preserving the environment and culture of Yap. It also focuses on social development and sustainable practices in Yap.

YapCAP’s goals include implementing the Yap Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (YBSAP) so that the preservation of Yap’s extremely biodiverse environment can be enforced. In addition, YapCAP also works with communities to help identify and develop environmental projects. Once these projects are identified YapCAP works at linking these communities with appropriate government agencies to aid in implementation as well as help seek funding for these projects. Once funding has been obtained YapCAP helps administer and regulate the funds. Thus, YapCAP serves as the conduit between local communities who want enhanced environmental programs and the outside financial and technical support that helps sustain them.

Current projects that YapCAP is working on are the:

Ngulu Atoll Marine Conservation Project

Operating a project that assists families to build houses

Development projects in conjunction with the non-profit organization Seacology

Yap Institute of Natural Science (YINS)
Dr. Margie Falanruw
Director, Yap Institute of Natural Science
P.O. Box 215
Yap, FM 96943
Phone: (691) 350-2104 

Fax: (691) 350-4115 

The Yap Institute of Natural science is a non-profit research institute that is based in Colonia and headed by Dr. Margie Falanruw. YINS is focused on researching sustainable development, natural history and adaptive technology in Yap. Much of the research that YINS has done focuses on fruit bat surveys, fishery studies and mariculture feasibility reports. YINS is also responsible for providing information on the sustainable use of natural resources on Yap. YINS works together with YapCAP as well as Seacology, an environmental non-profit that works in Yap.

Governmental Organizations

Yap State Environmental Protection Authority

The Yap EPA was formed in 1994 when the Environmental Quality Protection Act was passed by the Yap State Legislature. The Yap EPA is part of the Yap State Department and it works with community and government agencies to help control pollution.  It is the Yap EPA’s responsibility to protect Yap’s natural resources in air, land and water for future generations to come. The Yap EPA accomplishes this by providing education and public awareness on various issues concerning the environment. Their main form of communication with the Yapese community is through their newsletter titled “EPA News.” Currently the EPA in Yap is working on a marine resource and coastal management plan as well as the monitoring of dredging activities.

The activities of Yap EPA are divided into 4 general programs:
Pollution Control
Pesticides and Hazardous Waste Control
Water Quality
Public Education and Awareness

Yap State Department of Resources and Development
PO Box 336
Colonia, Yap, FM 96943
Phone: (691) 350-2182
Fax: (691) 350-2571
Email: Brian Southwick,

The Yap State Department of Resources and Development is at the forefront of sustainable economic development in Yap State.  The R&D in Yap State works within the areas of foreign investment, regional commerce, workforce development, tourism, agriculture and fishing.  R&D “strives to be the catalyst in terms of synergizing [the] State's human and material resources in [Yap’s] vigilant quest for a robust, self-reliant economy” (R&D website). The R&D mission is to “support and advance, through sustainable sound management of limited resources, the economic development and self-sufficiency of the state of Yap” (R&D website).  Thus, the R&D department facilitates and fosters the overall sustainable economic development efforts of Yap State along with the development aspirations of both Yap’s private and public sectors.

R&D has strong footholds in Yap’s agriculture and forestry, commerce and industry, marine and land resources and the workforce Enrichment Division (WED).  All of these programs have been put into place in order to provide the best possible economic and social benefit to the Yapese people both today and in the future. The R&D Department strongly believes in the youth of Yap and believes that they are the future of the state. Thus, programs such as summer youth camps are carried out in order to instill “employment related skills” in the island’s youth as they are the future leaders of tomorrow.

For more information on Yap State’s R&D Department please take a look at their comprehensive website at


1623 Solano Ave. 

Berkeley, CA 94707
Tel: (510) 559-3505
Fax: (510) 559-3506

Seacology is “an international environmental non-profit organization that is focused on saving endangered species, habitats and cultures of islands throughout the world” (Seacology). The main goal of Seacology is to preserve the highly endangered biodiversity of islands throughout the world.

Seacology is currently protecting 864,512 acres of island terrestrial habitat and 959,708 acres of coral reef or other marine habitat. Seacology works with local communities to help ensure that natural reserves are extended beyond paper and actually put into practice. Seacology has saved a total of 161.5 acres of terrestrial habitat in Yap, an area that is roughly only fifty square miles.

Projects that Seacology has worked on in Yap include:

Qokaaw and Kadaay Watershed Rehabilitation and Mangrove Sanctuary (January 2010, in progress)

In this project Seacology is working with the Yapese village communities of Qokaaw and Kadaay which are located on the western coast of Yap. These communities have taken an interest in preserving mangrove areas as protection is key to reducing run-off and providing a habitat for juvenile fish.  In exchange for setting aside the 46-acre mangrove reserve Seacology will fund watershed rehabilitation, surveillance equipment and a project operation center.

Maaq Village Mangrove Reserve (June 2008, in progress)

In this project a 35 acre pristine mangrove reserve will be set aside in exchange for the construction of causeway culverts as well as extending fresh water supplies to houses in the community who do not have them.

Kanif Village, Dalipebinaw Mangrove Reserve (July 2005)

Seacology has agreed to fund the rebuilding of a protective sea wall in exchange for a 5.5-acre Kanif Village Mangrove Reserve. This project was completed in June 2009.

Dalipebinaw Forest Reserve (November 2002, completed)

The Dalipebinaw Municipality set aside 75 acres of forest reserve in return for the funding of the restoration of the Tamilyog Stone Path. The Tamilyog Stone Path is one of the most notable remnants of traditional Yapese culture. This ancient path connects the eastern and western sides of the island. Seacology, in cooperation with YapCAP, provided the funding for the restoration of the Tamilyog Stone Path and it is currently being used as a living classroom where Yapese students can learn about their natural environment. In addition, user funds from tourists are used to help maintain the path’s maintenance.

Seacology’s First Project in Yap (July 1999)

Seacology worked alongside with YINS to help purchase equipment needed to document and publicize the endangered flora and fauna present on Yap. Much of this funding went towards YINS’ research on fruit bats and flying foxes present on Yap.

Habele Outer Island Education Fund
701 Gervais Street
Suite 150-244
Columbia, SC  29201

Habele is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the advancement of educational opportunities in Yap. Their goal is to provide tuition assistance and scholarships to students living in the “low” or “outer” islands so that they can attend school in the larger district areas. Habele is also a major partner in native language development curriculum in Yapese schools.

Hotels and Resorts

Pathways Hotel
718 Pathways Blvd.
Colonia Yap FM 96943

The Pathways Hotel (PH) has nine units, built in 1996, in the traditional architecture of Yap, which consists of native wood, bamboo and thatch construction. The owners of the hotel have been very conscientious of using the environment in a sustainable way. The hotel labels itself as an Eco-resort specializing in eco-oriented adventure activities. The Cottages that Pathways hotel contains were built using local materials. To this day, this resort has been trying to cope and minimize the environmental problems associated with tourism by installing tank-less water heaters that use less energy and water compared to conventional ways. Pathways Hotel plays an important role for the Yapese people since it is trying to be environmentally friendly and is one of the few hotels that is implementing environmentally friendly practices.

Many thanks, to Pathways Hotel, in particular many thanks to John, for finding our website useful!

Manta Ray Bay Resort
PO Box MR 
Yap, FSM 96943
Phone: (691) 350-2300
Fax: (691) 350-4567

The Manta Ray Bay Hotel (MRBH) has 23 modern units, and is a resort well known throughout the globe for its diving market.  This is the second major resort found in the island of Yap and it also plays an important role in the ecotourism industry in Yap as the MRBH incorporates environmentally friendly events through its diving market and encourages others to learn more about the conservation of coral reefs and the problems that the island is facing.

Academic Institutions

Yap State Department of Education
Mr. Arnold Yokbay Ken, Acting Director of Education
P.O. Box 212

Colonia, Yap FM 96943

Phone: (691) 350-2150
Fax: (691) 350-2399

Schools of Yap Micronesia are governed by a Pacific Resources for Education and Learning program, which is composed of various board directors that represent constituent groups of ten U.S. affiliated islands in the Pacific, one being the region of the Federated States of Micronesia in the Yap state. The Acting Director of Education, Mr. Arnold Yokbay Ken is in charge of the three high school located around the island and the schools programs all are helping in improving children?s and adults education by making various programs that help and continue to promote educational excellence for the community.

Many thanks to Mr. Ken for helping out and linking our website into the Yap high school!

Institutions of Higher Education
College of Micronesia, Yap Campus
Ms. Lourdes F. Roboman, Director
P. O. Box 286
Colonia, Yap FM 96943
Phone: (691) 350-2296

Fax: (691) 350-5150


In the mainland of Yap, there are only a few schools available to the Yapese community. One of these schools is the Yap Campus College of Micronesia, an institution of higher education. The college Director, Ms. Roboman helps maintains the school’s primary goal of providing qualifying and outstanding programs and services to their current and prospective students. The Yap Campus College as tries to assist the community’s needs for local building projects.On campus there are a variety of excellent learning centered programs and services which include degrees in Teaching, Agriculture and Food Technology, Electronic Engineering as well as numerous other Certificate and Vocational Programs.

Images From Community Outreach Research:
Pathways Hotel
Overview of the cottages
Side view of Pathways Hotel

Manta Ray Bay Beach Facility

View of Manta Ray Beach Resort
Diving and Sharks at Manta Ray Bay Resort

Manta Ray over Coral at the Resort

Tamilyog Stone Path

Kanif Village Protective Sea Wall

Maaq Mangrove Reserve

Traditional Yap Dance

Yapese dressed in traditional clothing

 Yapese Teenagers Enjoying a Day Outside

Yapese Woman

Yap culture: