Recap | 2020 “Blue Pioneers” Module One Training: Let’s go! | Duke Kunshan University


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Recap | 2020 “Blue Pioneers” Module One Training: Let’s go!


The twenty “blue pioneers” that were selected out of 50 applicants officially started their journey. Influenced by the 15th conference of the Convention on Biodiversity, the 2020 Blue Pioneers Program focuses on marine biodiversity and encompasses various topics including marine science, marine biodiversity and protection, and NGO capacity building.

Sept. 27 - Sept. 29, The Blue Pioneers program conducted its first module training, supported by numerous organizations, experts, and alumni. Training included lectures and field trips related to marine biodiversity, lectures on sustainable fisheries, sailing practice, and diving to combat marine debris.

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) proposes that ocean science in the next ten years should focus on sustainable harvesting and fishing, safety, predictability, and ocean health. Through visiting the National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology, the blue pioneers were able to explore the vast range of resources found in the ocean such as oil, gas, combustible ice, manganese nodules, and other ocean minerals as well as many kinds of marine organisms such as krill, enteromorpha, and various microorganisms that can be made into over 20% high-protein drugs and other products. Additionally, the blue pioneers also gained an in-depth understanding of China’s large-scale plan to build a “transparent ocean” and establish a 3D structure equipped with underwater gliders, buoys, submersibles, scientific research ships, and satellites in the heart of the Indian Ocean. The data gathered from various oceans through these systems provide a technical basis for realizing a “transparent ocean.”

*A “Transparent Ocean” embodies China’s wishes for a clean and clear ocean. The plan will also provide countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with open access to data and technology. The ocean is the last great unknown. We must understand the ocean in order to protect the ocean. We’re standing at the start of a Decade of Ocean Science. Every person invested in marine conservation should think deeply about how to reform the marine industry and work towards a cleaner, safer, and more transparent ocean.

** Credit to 2020 Blue Pioneer Chang Siyuan 

Marine Biodiversity Lecture

Ying Yiping, from Yellow Sea Fisheries Institute, gave the students a systematic overview of marine biodiversity, its importance, and current past initiatives and management methods from both China and abroad. His section on Antarctic krill aroused heated discussion. Ying also brought the students to a beach to observe local diversity up close.

Trainee Feedback

Instructor Ying’s research and work on marine biodiversity conservation, especially on Antarctic krill, has inspired me. His introduction of biodiversity theory was also enlightening and the part on Antarctic krill and the design of biodiversity surveys was really unique.

Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Biodiversity Protection

Wang Songlin, from Qingdao Marine Conservation Society, lectured on “How Can Sustainable Fishing Development Contribute to Biodiversity Conservation.” Unsustainable fisheries have many adverse effects on marine ecosystems and biodiversity. For example, populations of the blue-spot mackerel in the Yellow Sea and South China Sea sexually mature in an earlier age and have reduced body lengths as a result of intensive fishing practices. Cetaceans also often become by-kill of these nondiscriminatory, unsustainable practices.

Trainee Feedback

“The instructor used very practical case studies and shared relevant thoughts/experiences on sustainable fisheries.”

 “I gained insight on the connection between marine science and people’s livelihoods, I feel more grounded.”

Sharing of Alumni

FANG Lu (BPP 2017 alumnus) shared her thoughts on the China Seafood Sustainability Assessment (CSSA) project and on how being an environmentally conscious lover of seafood requires the support of a reliable platform and quantifiable data. HAN Han (BPP 2019 alumnus) also commended the Module Training. He shared his thrilling experiences in mountaineering and sailing and helped give basic training in boat driving skills. SUN Kai (BPP 2019 alumnus) also talked about his experience in marine protection youth education.

Marine protection requires the collective efforts of people from all walks of life. In academic research, it requires continuous innovative ideas and a rigorous inquiry attitude. In the arena of citizen science, it needs more grounded and widespread methodology. Businesses should respect nature in their commercial activities. The training of the first phase of Blue Pioneer 2020 has planted the seeds of exploring and problem-solving. These seeds will take root in the next modules and finally bear fruit in the team's capstone projects.

Blue Pioneers Program Introduction of Plan + Partners

On March 21, 2016, Mr. SHEN Guojun, the Chairman of Yintai Group and the Founder of Yintai Public Welfare Foundation and Director of the Paradise Foundation, on behalf of Yintai Public Welfare Foundation and the Paradise Foundation, welcomed Jane Lubchenco, former Director of the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) of the United States. Mr. Shen and Ms. Lubchenco discussed in detail the "Blue Pioneers Program” for the training of marine protection professionals. The program was jointly initiated by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Paradise Foundation and Yintai Foundation, and aims to cultivate and fund China's first-line young public welfare talents who are enthusiastic about marine protection.

In 2016, the Blue Pioneers Program recruited 15 outstanding students from the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University’s Master of Social Welfare Management. These MBA students and marine biology majors are young forces in the field of China’s marine conservation, marking the official launch of the first phase.

In 2018, the Blue Pioneers Program was jointly organized by the Paradise Foundation and the Environmental Research Center of Duke Kunshan University. Additionally, many well-known environmental protection organizations in China and abroad were invited to participate. The plan has been supported by many domestic and foreign marine conservation scientific research institutions and public welfare organizations. Over 26 environmental experts went to Duke Kunshan to train and instruct these young marine talents. The Program also organized for students to partner with domestic public welfare organizations and social enterprises. They carried out projects in Sanya Sun Bay, Hainan and Dalinghekou, Liaoning. The Paradise Foundation also provided seed funding support for five Blue Pioneers for their projects "Marine Citizen Science," "China Seafood Sustainability Assessment" and "Sustainable Sea Consumption Public Communication Research."

2019 The Blue Pioneer Program is officially underway.

Duke Kunshan University Environmental Research Center

Duke Kunshan University is a non-profit Sino-US joint university founded by Duke University (USA) and Wuhan University. DKU emphasizes elite education and innovative scientific research and aims to build a world-class research university with a liberal arts core, helping students from China and all over the world create meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Duke Kunshan University Environmental Research Center builds on Duke University’s environmental research and works closely with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy, and Duke Energy Initiative to provide support for natural and social scientific research on the environment.

The Paradise Foundation

The Paradise Foundation is a non-profit environmental protection organization that focuses on nature reserves. It is committed to conserving natural spaces through public welfare, science and technology, and business. The foundation was established by well-known Chinese entrepreneurs, artists, and philanthropists such as Jack Ma and MA Huateng. The Paradise Foundation respects cooperation and selects regional protection projects with important global value.

Yintai Foundation

Yintai Foundation was founded by Mr. Shen Guojun, the founder and chairman of Yintai Group, in early 2014. The Yintai Group hopes to use Yintai Foundation as a platform for channeling corporate social responsibility and promoting social progress through charity. Yintai Foundation focuses on the development of public welfare talents, environmental protection, research on modern Chinese history, and financial assistance.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a private equity fund based in California founded by Mr. David Packard (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard) and his wife, Lucile Salter Packard. It is committed to four goals: improving children's lives, family, and community building; effective and innovative technological development; reproductive health care; and the restoration and protection of the earth's ecosystem.

Note: This project was filed under the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education and Jiangsu Provincial Public Security Department in June 2019.