This exploration focused on the components of a marine ecosystem in Cambodia and the human impact affecting Cambodian marine ecosystems. Students were charged with finding problems, motivations and possible solutions connected to the human impact.
The students determined that illegal trawling was damaging vast areas of Cambodian marine ecosystems. The students researched algal farming as an alternative livelihood for illegal trawlers. The students created a one year plan to conduct a feasibility study to understand if algal farming was environmentally possible, economically feasible, and of interest to Cambodian fishermen. The students’ proposal was presented to the Liger administration in the “Proposal for a Feasibility Study of Algal Farming as an Alternative Livelihood for Cambodian Fishermen” report.
LLA worked in collaboration with “Art in a Box,” which is a New York based 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to create a book on Cambodian Wildlife, depicting some 87 different Cambodian species and 7 ecosystems. The book is believed to be the first of its kind in Cambodia. As well as being distributed to Government schools all around the country, at the behest of the Minister for Education, Youth and Sport, the book is also available at a leading bookstore in Phnom Penh and at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
After developing a deep understanding of Cambodian ecosystems and determining a strong need to share this information throughout the country, Liger students embarked on a project to write a comprehensive book about the major wildlife species found in their county. Students worked with a wide variety of experts ranging from a New York artist, who mentored them in creating original watercolors for almost 100 animal species, to scientists worldwide adding expertise about the animals, to mentors working to publish the book in both Khmer (Cambodian language) and English. Students then worked on crowd funding, designing and selling merchandise and other fundraising techniques to print enough books to distribute to government schools throughout Cambodia. Their work has now reached up one million of their peers around Cambodia.